This is what Cortona looks like coming from the southern side on the road from Perugia - a classic Tuscan hilltop town. Cortona dominates Valdichiana and the Trasimeno lake and was an important Etruscan settlement before becoming a Roman town during the social war and then gained prosperity during the Middle Ages. The city was sold in 1411 to the Florentines and became part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The best thing with Cortona is the view, a harmonious landscape where the mountains of Siena meet the green valleys of Valdichiana. The visit starts from the majestic remains of the boundary walls which go back to the Etruscan period.
"I couldn't dream a place more beautiful"
I came to Cortona because I am one of those American women who saw Under the Tuscan Sun one too many times and something about it just called to me. Although the movie is very different from the book, the central theme of Cortona and its charm are what drew me there. It is now my mission in life to return and live there. Absolutely magical and charming. No description I could ever give would do it justice.
I live in Los Angeles, where anything that is old is considered "bad" and replaced with new slapshod stucco structures that all look the same, which are considered "good". I love the crumbling villas, cobblestone streets and sense of an ancient time that exists in Cortona. Aside from the modern cars and amenities, people still exist there as they have for generations. I felt almost as if I was an intrusion in their simple way of life, yet so transfixed by it that I wanted to completely abandon the life I have in Los Angeles. We live to work in Los Angeles, and in all of Italy it seems that they work to live, and it's all the rest that matters: good food, family, friendships, conversation, beauty, art... la dolce vita.
"Santa Marguerita Church"
Several locals served in both WWI and WWII, but the city of Cortona remained safe in both wars. They attribute this to Santa Marguerita and hold a large festival to her in February. We had to leave the day before and unfortunately didn't get any pictures of it, but the locals all dress in medieval clothing and have a hold a festival for their saint.