Cortona is a lovely medieval town in Tuscany.
How to get to Cortona?
By car: If you are coming either from the north or the south of Italy to reach Cortona you need to exit at the Valdichiana toll booth and from there follow route E45 towards Perugia, until you find indications for Cortona. Once you exit this route, follow signs to Cortona. Gradually, the town, which is located on top of a hill, will come into view, so it is very easy to find. Outside the town center there is plenty of free parking.
By train: Unfortunately, Cortona does not have a train station, but the 2 towns near by do. Catch a train until Terontola or Camucia. From there you can to take a bus or taxi directly to Cortona.
What to see in Cortona?
Cortona was founded by the Etruscans, and in fact around the town center you will be able to see very well preserved Etruscan walls. The Estruscans, who were then dominated by the Romans, always settled in hilltops. The town was also very lively during the Middle Ages. It is one of the oldest hill towns in Tuscany. The town is very lively with the presence of both locals and tourists.
Before entering town, and if interested take a look at the Etruscan tombs. Most of them are difficult to reach, the easiest to see is the Tanella di Pitagora (II ce. b.C.), which is just a few miles from Cortona.
The inside of the tombs are empty as all the artifacts are in the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca (MAEC) in Cortona.
The other important sites worth seeing include:
– Palazzo Comunale: a medieval building which still today represents the center of the town
– the Duomo
– in front of the Duomo you will find the Museo Diocesano: a small museum, although 2 fine paintings make the visit worth it, the Annunciation by Fra Angelico and a Deposition by Luca Signorelli. Additionally, there is a Roman sarcophagus that represents an uncommon mythological scene of Dionysus and the Amazons.
– Museo Etrusco: it covers the town history.
– A pleasant walk (approx. 20 minues) uphill takes you to the Church of S. Margherita and the Fortezza Medicea from where you can admire Lake Trasimeno and a lovely view.
– There are also other several churches, which for the most part, were restored during the Renaissance.
Where to eat: there are plenty of restaurants.
If you are interested in something typical try:
Trattoria Toscana da Santi, Via Dardano, 12
(it is just a 5 minute walk from the Palazzo Comunale) – you can find more info ont their website: http://www.trattoriatoscana.eu/