CORTONA, THE TOWN OF "UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN"
(40 km - 50 min) Cortona is an Etruscan village. You can visit his Etruscan walls, ancient churches and museum. We recommend to visit the Etruscan tumulus tombs , the most antique form of burial and also the local Etruscan museum (MAEC).
Cortona is a small cozy town of Val di Chiana, near Arezzo. The city, surrounded by walls that are still visible traits Etruscan and Roman, was built on a hill, which reaches 600 meters high. This elevated position ensures a 'good views from different points of the city, allowing you to admire the beautiful landscapes of the Chiana Valley, seeing also the Lake Trasimeno.
Cortona's center is built around the Republic Square, overlooked by the Town Hall. The town is small, but offers many interesting things to visit, including the Diocesan Museum (which houses a beautiful table of 'Annunciation by Fra Angelico) and the MAEC (Museo dell' Accademia Etruscan city of Cortona), in which are exposed, among other things, many artifacts from different areas of the Etruscan area. At the museum you can get information about your visits to the Archaeological Park of Cortona.
Do not miss a visit to the beautiful Sanctuary of St. Margaret, patron saint of the city, and the Fortress of Girifalco. Both are located on the highest point of the hill, which you can safely get walking, keeping in mind that the path is quite short, but all uphill. Following the path that runs along the city walls you can enjoy plus the beautiful views of the surroundings. The Fortress of Girifalco, built for military purposes, has undergone major renovations over the centuries and is now open only in part.
Several small shops of handicrafts and local food can be found on the main streets of the town center. The area produces excellent wines (we are moreover a few kilometers from Montepulciano and Montalcino) and wine bars abound. In the city there are several restaurants, mostly geared towards the traditional local and Tuscan (in Valdichiana are bred Chianina, one of the oldest Italian cattle breeds and quality).
Just outside the walls of Cortona, the 'Franciscan Hermitage Le Celle, first monastery built by St. Francis d' Assisi in 1211, where he now lives a small community of friars. Over the centuries, the 'hermitage has undergone several renovations and expansion, during which, however, was preserved the little cell of St. Francis still be visited today.
In summer in Cortona is organized the Tuscan Sun Festival, dedicated to the 'art involving every year star and international artists.