Cortona – An enchanting hub of Etrucan art, pristine natural beauty, and local flavours
Somewhere in the beautiful Arezzo region lies a charming town that surrounds itself with stone walls from as far back as the Etruscan times. Sitting on top of a hill in the Chiana Valley (also known as Valdichiana) in southern Tuscany, Cortona rewards visitors with spectacular views of a dreamy lush land all the way to beautiful Lake Trasimeno.
Whether it has become one of the most favourite Tuscany destinations for its magical landscapes highlighted in the 2003 Under the Tuscan Sun film or the fact that it was the birthplace of leading artists, Cortona definitely gives visitors more than enough reasons to feel spellbound.
Amidst imposing medieval fortresses and leafy lands
As you go through the majestic gate in the Cortona walls and walk the steep streets of this lovely village to Piazza della Republica, the beating heart of Cortona, you are greeted by some of the most distinctive buildings in the area. The grandeur-filled Palazzo Communale with the adorable staircase and the cute clock tower becomes your host in this adventure.
Keep strolling the cobbled paths lined with picturesque stone-built houses, and the next attraction awaits – Piazza Lucca Signorelli. Home to the Signorelli Theatre and Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e città di Cortona museum (Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona or MAEC), it gives visitors a unique opportunity to admire century-old artifacts and watch world-class shows. The Diocesan Museum is another pole of attraction for history buffs, and not only, that enables you to please your soul with Beato Angelico’s Annunciation – a captivating panel painting. Many people refer to Cortona as a refined distillery of Etruscan and modern art, and they can’t be more right.
From the square, you could either wander the streets of the Old Town or take a short uphill walk to pamper yourself with staggering views of the blossoming countryside and the 3km walls that surround Cortona from the stunning Girifalco Fortress or the Santa Margherita Sanctuary – both sitting quietly on the highest point on the hill.
Alternatively, the Franciscan hermitage Le Celle (home to St Francis’ cell – conserved in its original state) and the Cortona Duomo are also waiting with open arms for a memorable endeavour.
Exquisite local tastes to please the palate
Cortona offers a wealth of locally handmade products and dishes, providing a superb gastronomical journey to those loving food and, of course, good wine. Speaking of which, the region is renowned for its red wines, which makes sense considering that it’s only a few kilometres from Montalcino and Montepulciano – both world-famous for their vino nobile red wines.
When it comes to local tastes, don’t leave Cortona without giving your taste buds the satisfaction of the prized Tuscany beef, Chianina. House-made pasta, home-baked bread, truffles with cheese fondue, and grilled cheese on crunchy rusks, along with grappa or limoncello at the end of the meal are also to die for.
Elegant accommodation with VIP amenities
The most challenging part is to decide where in the Cortona region you want to stay. Irrespective of this, though, expect absolutely heart-stopping villas, mansions, estates, and elegantly restored farm-houses surrounded by a profoundly rich Mother Nature, olive trees, lavender pastures, lands covered with sunflowers, and all the colours of the rainbow. Utmost privacy is, of course, ensured while abundance is found in the offered services and amenities that usually include a private pool, stylish en-suite bedrooms, and many more modern comforts. Feel free to enjoy your morning cup of tea or coffee on your front porch or yard with smashing panoramas very few get to see in a lifetime.
Welcome to Cortona!