The nearest town with a population greater than 100,00 is called Arezzo, which dates back to the Etruscan period. We toured the town with the vivacious Giovanni who hails from Cortona ("Under the Tuscan Sun," anyone?). He was quite the fast talker and walker, and even though I kept step with him, it was impossible to catch everything.
Giovanni even offered some tips to keep us from looking like completely ridiculous Americans, though that is hard to avoid. Observe:
1. It's pronounced "grat-zee-EH," not "grat-zee."
2. Don't order a cappuccino after lunch. It's a morning drink. Just drink espresso to be on the safe side (plus you'll look like a BA. "Yeah, I may be American but I can handle your bitter, powerfully strong shot of caffeine.").
3. Don't ask, "Is this a Catholic church?" The answer is always yes.
After pushing through the crowds of people preparing for a medieval-style jousting tournament (see above), we toured the Arezzo Cathedral. It houses a miraculous image of Mary! So beautiful.
Giovanni and the Cathedral
Pierro della Francesco's beautiful medieval fresco of Mary Magdalene that 'Vanni was obsessed with and I kinda am too. See how she's divided in half vertically, one side representing her in her sin, and the other in the redeemed state?
Browsed the outdoor antique market that never ended, ate some fantastic pizza, and had some delicious gelato. We'll be seeing you again, Arezzo!