Cortona village Arezzo Vandichiana Attractions Chianti Tuscany What to see
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Cortona is a small charming town in the Valdichiana, or Chiana Valley, in the province of Arezzo in southern Tuscany. The city, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a hill about 600 meters (about 1968 feet) above sea level. This dominant position over the valley offers a spectacular view from all over the town of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno.

One of the first things you will notice after arriving in Cortona is the lack of flat streets - prepare yourself for walking up and down hills quite a lot!
Your visit to Cortona can start at the Porta San Domenico from where you can follow the Ruga Piana to reach the Piazza della Repubblica.
Alternatively if you arrive at Piazzale Garibaldi, you can take in the extensive views and then follow Via Nazionale to Piazza della Repubblica.

Cortona is one of the most beautiful and fascinating hill towns of Tuscany and Italy. The origins of this small and suggestive village go very far back in time, and you can still admire part of its imposing Etruscan walls.

The Historical center
Piazza della Repubblica: Cortona, built on the slopes of the hill and still surrounded by well-preserved walls, lies the Piazza della Repúbblica, on the east side of which is the Palazzo del Popolo (14th century, rebuilt 1514 onwards).
Palazzo Comunale: The west side of the square is dominated by the imposing Palazzo Comunale, which was already in existence in 1241; it was rebuilt in 1275, enlarged in the 16th century and rather clumsily restored in 1896. The front of the palazzo is given its characteristic aspect by the battlemented clock-tower (1509) and the flight of steps (also 16th century) leading up to it.
Praetorian Palace: To the northwest of the Town Hall in Cortona is the Piazza Signorelli, with the Palazzo Pretorio, the facade of which bears the coats of arms of former podestàs; it now houses the Accademia Etrusca (founded 1726) and the Museum of Etruscan Antiquities (Etruscan bronze candelabrum; fifth century B.C.).
Piazza Garibaldi: From this square where at is center is collocate the obelisk dedicated to Giuseppe Garibaldi, is possible to get a wide view of the Val di Chiana to Lake Trasimeno and Montepulciano. Stop here to enjoy this breathtaking panorama.

The itinerary will take you through the many palaces, churches and monuments that are to be found in this ancient walled town.

MAEC MUSEUM Museum of the Etruscan civilization
Cortona’s civic museum at Piazza Signorelli offers a fascinating and eclectic collection that goes beyond the Etruscan limits suggested by its name. The Accademia, a historical institute founded in 1727, numbered Voltaire among its early members. The museum MAEC occupies one of the town’s more impressive medieval palaces, the 13th-century Palazzo Casali (or Palazzo Pretorio), former home to Cortona’s leading medieval family.

Diocesan Museum
The museum is a rather gloomy former church whose interior is enlivened by a small but prestigious collection of Renaissance paintings. Perversely, however, it opens with a 2nd-century Roman sarcophagus, whose carved centaurs and battle scenes were apparently much admired by Donatello and Brunelleschi. 

The Monastery of Saint Francis “Le Celle”
The Monastery of Celle is a sacred building located in a village “Le Celle”, 10 minutes from Cortona. The monastery of Celle of Cortona, built at the turn of a narrow valley, is very suggestive for the spirituality of the place: from here you can also enjoy a splendid view over the Valdichiana (Chiana Valley). 

Fortress of Girifalco & church of Santa Margherita
Probable Etruscan origins was a post used by the Goths first and later by the Lombards at the time of the Barbarian invasions. Yet, news about it dates to 1258, only, thanks to an act of conveyance of the complex bought by Arezzo.In the years, it underwent numerous alterations and restructuring that started in 1266 and continued in the XVI century as established by the Casali who were the lords of Cortona for all the XIV century. The Sienese carried out a further reinforcement work when they were allied with the inhabitants of Cortona in the battle against Arezzo and the local Guelfs. Yet, the Florentines, who owned the fortress since 1411, performed the most important structure that gave the fortalice its current architectural appearance.
In the XV century, the central body of the fortress was carried out and also Cosimo I de’ Medici worked on it at the half of the XVI century. After a long inspection on all the fortresses that had recently come into the possession of Florence, the Grand Duke was astonished by the peculiar position of the Cortona’s stronghold. Thus, he decided to transform it into one of the most imposing bulwarks of the Medicean power in the territory of Arezzo. Even if Florentine money financed this work, started in 1556, the local population strongly contributed to it since they were submitted to heavy taxation.
The shrine is dedicated to the figure of Santa Margherita, patron of Cortona and Franciscan tertiary, and subsequent cultural and spiritual activities of the Observant Franciscans. On the death of the saint (February 22, 1297) it was decided to build a church in her honor, next to the ancient church of St. Basil that Margaret herself had restored after it is chosen as the place of penance and prayer. In 1304 the sacred building was already built, but it continued to embellish it with important frescoes throughout the fourteenth century. 

Etruscan tombs
The Archaeological park of Sodo is located at the bottom of the hill of Cortona about 4 km. Situated on the right bank of the Rio Loreto, the Melone tumulus consists in an artificial mound and is an example of archaic Etruscan funerary architecture. 

Church of Santa Maria delle grazie
This outstanding 15th-century Renaissance church is located on the winding approach road to Cortona (2 miles from Porta Sant’Agostino). It was built on the site of a tannery (known as a calcinaio after the lime used in the tanning process) to house an image of the Virgin that had miraculously appeared on the tannery walls. 

Church of Santa Maria Nuova
The church of Santa Maria Nuova is located just outside of the walls of the town of Cortona. The church was built to house a miraculous image of the virgin that previously had been in a private chapel. 

Piazza della Repubblica
The 13th-century town hall and clock tower are on one of Cortona's main squares, Piazza della Repubblica. There are cafes nearby for enjoying the piazza life.
Cortona's Renaissance cathedral, built on the site of an Etruscan temple, has an 11th-century facade and has beautiful 16th and 17th-century paintings inside.
Museo dell' Accademia Etrusca
In the 13th-century Palazzo Pretorio on Piazza Signorelli is the Etruscan Academy Museum. Besides good Etruscan artifacts, the museum holds Roman remains, Renaissance and Baroque paintings, 15th-century ivories, and a small Egyptian exhibit. It's closed on Mondays.
Museo Diocesano
This small museum, also closed on Mondays, holds outstanding artworks and a decorated Roman sarcophagus.
San Domenico
Near the public gardens, the church of San Domenico has a completely intact 15th-century altarpiece and works by Fra Angelico and Signorelli.
San Francesco
The Church of San Francesco, built in 1245, holds a Pietro di Cortona painting and the remains of Signorelli.
Cortona's Walls
Cortona's Etruscan walls are incorporated into the medieval walls that surround its historic center. Inside the walls, you can wander the narrow medieval streets of Cortona's historic center. Near the walls, you'll often be rewarded with fantastic views of the valley below.


Adagiata su una collina da cui si può spingere lo sguardo sulla Valdichiana fino al Lago Trasimeno, Cortona è uno dei miei luoghi del cuore, tanto che il primo post di questo blog lo scrissi proprio dopo un pomeriggio trascorso in questa splendida cittadina della Provincia di Arezzo ricca di arte, storia, cultura, cose da fare e da vedere.
Consacrata al grande pubblico, sopratuttto anglofono, dal libro diventato poi film “Under the Tuscan Sun”, merita certamente tutto questo interesse perché ha tanto da offrire sotto ogni punto di vista. Ecco quindi i nostri suggerimenti per assaporare il fascino dell’incantevole borgo di origine etrusca.

Il borgo di Cortona è diventato un simbolo: di come un piccolo borgo toscano possa diventare meta di un turismo mondiale grazie ad un film di successo.
Di come questo turismo possa, in parte, stravolgere abitudini di vita secolari. Il film, famoso, è “Sotto il cielo di Toscana“, tratto dal romanzo “Under the Tuscan Sun” della scrittrice Frances Mayes.

Durante un soggiorno turistico a Cortona non ci si annoia mai!
I visitatori possono scegliere i percorsi turistici o svolgere attività all’aria aperta.
Tra i primi ci sono gli itinerari nel centro storico o quelli fuori le mura alla scoperta di musei e monumenti.
In pochi minuti d’auto si arriva nei dintorni di Cortona, dove primeggiano i borghi della Valdichiana e le città d’arte celebri nel mondo.
Scegliendo un soggiorno nei mesi più caldi, poi, non mancano i sentieri ad hoc per il trekking, oltre ai percorsi in bici o a cavallo. Negli info point della città si possono conoscere tutti gli itinerari.

Un viaggio nel centro storico o nei dintorni della località medievale passa attraverso i luoghi di culto cristiani, tra cui spicca il bellissimo Duomo.
Sono comunque numerose le chiese che si trovano all’interno del pur piccolo centro storico: tra queste spiccano senz’altro la Basilica di Santa Margherita, dedicata alla santa protettrice della città, e la Chiesa di San Francesco.
Non sono poi da meno i luoghi di culto situati al di fuori delle mura cittadine.
L’Eremo Le Celle, legato alla permanenza del poverello di Assisi all’inizio del XIII secolo, è un gioiello che merita il breve viaggio dal centro di Cortona.
L’Abbazia di Farneta, situata nell’omonima frazione cortonese, è invece un bellissimo esempio di architettura altomedioevale.



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