In Italy’s Tuscany region and Arezzo province many souls find themselves on quests of beauty, gastronomy, history and good old fashioned Italian living. Many itineraries include the big stops like Siena, Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano, and tours may include Cortona, but any self guided adventurer would do well to include Cortona. The city is each to reach via rental car or on the bus system from various other locales. Trains hail from Rome, Florence and Arezzo. Here are the top attractions to see in this more laid back and panoramic town.
The Diocesan Museum is located in Piazza Signorelli and it is quite affordable with just a 5 Euro charge to enter. Amidst the Etruscan wonders and Roman Sarcophagus the real attractions await even further in the collection. Fra Angelico’s famous Annunciation painting as well as his Madona with child and saints. The building conveys only a surviving fraction of the Romanesque structure of this quarter of the city that once existed.
Eremo Le Celle
Actually found 3km outside the center of town, this is a perfect site upon which to build a workout. It is remembered by many visitors for its ethereal beauty and the fact that it can be a grueling hike up the mountainside. This hermitage is still active so the monks ask for a silent atmosphere even when they let guests walk all around the grounds. Natural panoramic views along with a waterfall and the chant heard from time to time makes it an unforgettable spot. A little gift shop and cell commemorating a visit by St. Francis are part of the attraction too.
Food and Drink
Almost any restaurant you find on a main street or a back alley in this town is going to be good. Here the menus reflect the savory bounty of the Tuscan countryside and food is generally well priced in comparison to the likes of Rome or Florence. Try Trattoria Dardano for a wonderful local experience. It will get busy certain times of the day, but you will be immersed in the delicacies of the town itself, it is so rustic you will probably end up having to pay with cash. Also drop into Taverna Pane e Vino which has over 900 types of wine in stock.
This is one of the crowning views of the entire town and a place with lots of pomp and history. Home and castle to the powerful Medici family, the 3 Euro entry fee will allow you to explore its ruins and see as far away as the glimmering water of Lake Trasimeno. Via S. Margheritta is the best way to find the fortress, just walk up it past the gardens from town.
The mysterious pre-Roman people known as Etruscan’s are well represented here by the fantastic ancient walls that encircle the city and by the Museum of Etruscan Academy. The walls have been reinforced and added to over the years but the various artisan works are visible all over. The Academy has many archeological artifacts, tombs and things to learn about.