CORTONA AND SURROUNDINGS
An encounter with Cortona is an encounter with art, history and mysticism. Getting to know this timeless town is a real rediscovery of our past. Within its mighty Etruscan walls Cortona jealously guards its treasures and offers testimony to the history of a most noble civilization as well as an enchanting view of the landscape enclosed by Lake Trasimeno and the Appenines.
From its high perch on top of a verdant hill Cortona dominates the Val di Chiana and offers commanding views over the valley all the way to the peaks of the Monte Amiata. The medieval aspect of buildings and alleyways gives the town a charming, unspoilt air. The Basilica of Santa Margherita and the Convent of Le Celle invite guests to discover Cortona from up above providing an itinerary of art and faith only a stone’s throw away from the town centre. Strolling down the Ruga Piana, today Via Nazionale (the only level street in town) you will get to the Piazza della Repubblica towered over by the imposing medieval Palazzo Comunale (town hall) whilst the adjoining Piazza Signorelli is dominated by the Palazzo Casali the former residence of the Casali housing today the MAEC (Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di Cortona). Its rooms house a very interesting collection of Etruscan and Roman archaeological finds. Located on the north end of town across
form the Cathedral the Museo Diocesano is a real jewel-case housing works by major local artists such as Luca Signorelli as well as one of the most enchanting Annunciations by Beato Angelico.
Outside the city gates at the foot of the hill The Melone I and II of Sodo are fine examples of Etruscan underground tombs from the 6th century B.C. The Abbey of Santa Maria of Farneta located along the road to Foiano is with its charming crypt one of the most ancient examples of Aretinian Romanesque art.
An event not to be missed is the CortonAntiquaria antique fair, one of the most interesting national antique fairs. The event takes place every year in the 18th century Palazzo Vagnotti from the last Saturday of August to the second Sunday of September.
Besides its charm and beauty Cortona is a major tourist destination also for its ideal location enabling to easily and quickly get to major cultural and artistic sites such as Florence, Siena, Perugia, Assisi, Montepulciano, Montalcino, Trasimeno Lake, Arezzo, Pienza, Gubbio, Orvieto, Spoleto, etc.