Cortona is a small cozy town in Valdichiana, in the province of Arezzo. The city is enclosed by walls that visibly show Etruscan and Roman traits, and built on a hill which reaches 600 meters high. This elevated position gives an excellent view from different points of the city, allowing you to admire the beautiful landscapes of the Valdichiana and the Trasimeno lake.
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 the Annunciation by Fra Angelico) and the MAEC (Museo dell’Accademia Etruscan city of Cortona), which has many artifacts from different areas of the Etruscan area. At the museum you can get information about visits to the Archaeological Park of Cortona.
Do not miss a visit to the beautiful Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, patron saint of the city, and the Fortress of Girifalco. Both are located on the highest point of the hill, which you can safely reach by on foot, keeping in mind that the path is quite short, but all uphill. Following the path that runs along the city walls you can enjoy beautiful views of the surroundings. The Fortress of Girifalco, built for military purposes, has undergone major renovations over the centuries and is now only partially open.
Several small shops of handicrafts and local food can be found on the main streets in the town center. The area produces excellent wines (a few kilometers from Montepulciano and Montalcino) and wine bars are aboundant. Just outside the walls of Cortona, lies the Franciscan Hermitage Le Celle, the first monastery built by St. Francis of Assisi in 1211, where now live a small community of friars. Over the centuries the hermitage has undergone several renovations and expansion, during which the little cell of St. Francis was preserved and can still be visited today.
In summer in Cortona organizes the Tuscan Sun Festival, every year is dedicated to involving stars and international artists.