Overview of Cortona
Propped up on a rapidly rising hill (Cortona is almost a mountain town) Cortona is surrounded by olive groves all around. The highlights of its history see the 14th century when Fra Angelico and Luca Signorelli were born and lived here. The town became utterly famouse when the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun", inspired by the omonimous book of Frances Mayes, was largely shot in Cortona. One curiosity about the movie: the town fountain was especially made for the set, so do not bother looking for it! Another movie that was shot in Cortona was "Life is Beautiful" of Roberto Benigni. The scene when outside its pouring and he picks her up with the car in front of the Signorelli Theatre was shot in the square of Cortona. The rest of the movie was shot in Arezzo.Notewothy is the weeklong "Giostra dell'Archidado", a crossbow competition that originated in the Middle Ages and sees the various neighborhoods competing for the Verretta d'Oro, or golden arrow. Another very significant festivity is the Tuscan Sun festival. Paired with the California one, this festival is the perfect cultural exchange occasion when several artists, performers, masters of martial arts, professional chefs, and yoga trainers come together from all over the world to fill a two-week long program rich of events.
The tourist office is in Via Nazionale 42. Phone is 0039 0575 63 03 52.
How to Get There
BY BUS:From and to Arezzo via Castiglion Fiorentino.It drops/departs in/from Piazzale Garibaldi. One hour trip.
BY TRAIN: On the Rome-Florence line, you need to get to Camucia (6 Km. away). From the station to Cortona it takes 15 minutes with shuttle buses that run every hour. From Cortona you can get to Rome, Arezzo, Florence, and Perugia.
BY CAR: Take the SS71 going to Arezzo or the ss75 to Perugia in both directions.
What to See
The Palazzo Comunale was built in the 13th century, later renovated in the 16th. The last restauration happened in the 19th. The Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca is in Piazza Signorelli. Among the local Etruscan findings, it displays some important artifacts from the 2nd century BC. (museum phone: 0039 0575 630415).The cathedral was originally built in the Romanesque period, but lost its character throughout the centuries. The museum of the cathedral, the Museo Diocesano is where the important operas of the cathedral are kept, such as the Annunciazione and Madonna of Fra Angelico.
Very well worth the steep hill necessary to get there is the Chiesa di Santa Margherita, the patron of Cortona, which holds her remains in a coffin over the altar. Further uphill is the Fortezza Medicea, fortress built by the Medici family, set in the highest point of Cortona, from where you will command truly unique sights of the Valdorcia countryside.
Where to Eat:
Osteria del Teatro: Friendly service, very quoted and visited by all the actors playing in Cortona, it serves good Tuscan food over a bit-too-loud music. Try the pumpkin Ravioli.
La Loggetta: Traditional Tuscan food served with a very good selection of wines from Montepulciano and other Tuscan greats. The meat is unsurpassable. Free appetizer with frizzantino and sweets.
Pane e Vino: Simple, inexpensive, original homemade Tuscan cooking with homemade pasta. Try the Cacciatora Sauce (hunter sauce) with boar, turkey, deer, and goose.
Where to Sleep:
-"Villa Vignacce": Nice Villa set in the middle of the Valdichiana divided into 2 apartments for 4 people and one for 2 people,swimming pool, price per week from 500 euros per week. 15 km from Cortona
-"Agriturismo Terontola": Nice Farmhouse divided into apartments for 2,3 and 4 people. Swimmingpool. Price from 470 euros per week. 3 km from Cortona
Main Towns of Valdichiana
Arezzo, Cortona , Montepulciano,
Torrita di Siena,
Castiglion Fiorentino, Lucignano.
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