The first Cathedral of Arezzo was located near the Colle del Pionta, a place of faith where San Donato was venerated.
Around 1203 Pope Innocent III decided to move it inside the walls and then place it in the exact place where, according to tradition, once stood the city’s acropolis first and the early Christian church then, or in the dominant point of the hill of Arezzo .
During this transfer the remains of the Patron were finally placed in the Church of San Donato in Castiglione Messer Raimondo, in the province of Teramo; the Arezzo cathedral, however, maintained the name of the patron saint.
The construction of the imposing Cathedral of Arezzo began in the thirteenth century (around 1278) and the works continued with intervals until the sixteenth century (1511); the façade, which replaces an unprecedented precedent, dates back to 1900 and was built in sandstone on the design of Dante Viviani who, together with Giuseppe Cassioli and Enrico Quattrini, also took care of the decorative sculptures.
The portal on the right side, of clear Florentine taste, is of Roman and Gothic style and seems to date back to the fourteenth century; the porphyry columns that surround it are the remains of an already existing construction of probable Roman times.
The Madonna with Child, in terracotta, by Niccolò di Luca Spinelli is represented between San Donato and Gregorio X and placed in the center of the lunette above the portal. The apse has a polygonal shape, divided by high mullioned windows, and dates back to the 13th century. The current bell tower (the third) dates back to the mid-nineteenth century; previously it was just attached to the Cathedral but the windows were damaged by the vibrations of the bells.
It was therefore placed in a first construction, which unfortunately suffered the damage of an aquifer and subsequently, in the current one that was detached until the realization of housing for the caretakers that currently connect it to the Duomo.
The three large naves that are inside, are divided by polystile pillars alternating with arches.
Along the right aisle are: the tomb of Pope Gregory X, the remains of the work of Buonamico Buffalmacco “The Madonna with the Child enthroned between the Saints”, Two Marchigian porches from the late 16th century, an anonymous fresco of the fourteenth century depicting the Madonna with Child among six stories of the lives of saints Cristoforo and Giacomo Maggiore, the marble sarcophagus dedicated to Ciuto Tarlati dating back to 1334 where there are also reliefs by Giovanni d’Agostino and an arch with the fresco by an Aretine painter known as the Bishop’s Master.
The stained glass windows of particular suggestion for the colors and the beauty of the images represented in them have been almost totally realized by Guglielmo De Marcillat.
Of notable interest inside the Cathedral: the Ark of San Donato located above the Altar, the Sepulcher of Gregory X (XVI century), the Tarlati Chapel, La Maddalena by Piero della Francesca, The Cenotaph of Guido Tarlati (1330 ), the Chapel of the Madonna del Conforto dating back to the 18th century, the Diocesan Museum, the Capitular Archive.