Special tours allow visitors to see The Legend of the True Cross frescoes from scaffold.

Visitors to the Tuscan city of Arezzo are to be offered up-close visits to one of the jewels of Italian art, a famed fresco cycle by Early Renaissance master Piero della Francesca.


From 27 January to 12 March 2024, the Bacci Chapel of the Basilica di San Francesco will give visitors the rare chance to climb the scaffold used by restorers to admire the 15th-century masterpiece.


The artist spent more than a decade, between 1452 and 1466, painting the celebrated fresco cycle known as The Legend of the True Cross.

The Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. Photo: stefano cellai / Shutterstock.com.


These beautiful panels centre on the legend of Empress Helena recovering Christ’s true cross during a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

One panel shows Judas being tortured into revealing the whereabouts of the cross whose discovery leads to miracles and battles before being returned to Jerusalem by Byzantine Emperor Heraclius.

Another panel portrays Emperor Constantine I being awakened by an angel the night before he defeated Maxentius at the Battle of Ponte Milvio in 312 AD.

Other celebrated panels included in the three-level fresco sequence depict the Death of Adam and The Meeting of Solomon and the Queen of Sheba.

The frescoes feature in Anthony Minghella’s 1996 film The English Patient when Hana, played by Juliette Binoche, is hoisted around the chapel in a harness, viewing the artwork by flare-light.

Juliet Binoche in The English Patient


Della Francesco’s masterful frescoes can now be seen at close range, for a limited period, as part of the project All’altezza di Piero.

Together with the Arezzo Intour Foundation, which manages the museum services of the city’s state museums, special visits have been organised accompanied by an expert guide.

Tours will take place on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 14.00-18.00, Saturday 09.00-18.00 and Sunday 13.00-18.00, with last entry at 17.00.

The Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca. 


Visits cost €35 and must be booked in advance. Tickets for people aged 18 to 25 cost €10 while for children under 18 the price is €8.

The visits will last about an hour and can be reserved from 19 December on the museoarezzo.it website.

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