“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal: Italy 2013 – Cortona

 Cortona is about 60 km from our villa and became our Sunday destination. The name of the city may sound familiar, because the book Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes (and the movie by the same name), is set in Cortona. Mayes also wrote Every Day in Tuscany: Seasons in an Italian Life, which I read shortly before we came to Tuscany. In it, Mayes chronicles her continuing (two decades so far) love affairwith Tuscany – the people, art, food, and lifestyle. After reading her book, Cortona was definitely on my list of must-visits. 

We were fortunate to find a parking space near the only escalator that takes you up the steep hill to town. All the towns in the region are at the top of very steep hills. Some you have to walk up, but Cortona has an escalator. Thank you, folks of Cortona! At the top, the escalator, delivers you into a large, lovely piazza and the view is spectacular!  I could just stand and look at it for hours.

view from Cortona

entrance to Cortona

Cortona is a charming town, with lots of wonderful shops and cafes. The shopkeepers were all very nice and so glad to see us. They were attentive, but let us browse without intruding. I found plenty here to spend my money on (including an incredible piece of art)

We also took the time to just sit in a cafe and watch life. There were lots of English-speaking people here (mostly tourists like us, but also a large nmber of American ex-pats). It was a bit commercialized, but most of the larger hill towns are. Lunch was at a great little cafe–caprese salad for me and pizza for Arnold. And, of course, casa vino rosso (house red wine). 

The sights of the town were very charming. The cathedral of Santa Maria was, of course, beautiful.

Santa Maria Cathedral


the streets of Cortona

We never seem to have enough time in the towns we visit. We missed the Etruscan chamber tombs very near Cortona. I’m sure my daughter, Alisa, would love to see those, so that just gives us a reason to visit when we return to Tuscany. We left Cortona at about six o’clock so we could eat dinner closer to home. Most restaurants don’t open for dinner until 7:30 and dinner usually lasts about 2 hours, so eating in Monterchi or Sansepolcro made much more sense.

Tomorrow will be another adventure!  Until then, ciao bella!