From the terracotta roofs that crown this hilltop gem to the patchwork of fields and vineyards at its base, Cortona is a true Tuscan treasure. It feels almost like the ancient wall surrounding it has held back the march of time. This is a town with a culture all of its own, and a past that’s still very much present.
Beneath the quintessential Italian charm and terracotta tiles, Cortona’s ancient past is waiting to be discovered.
Things to do
Cortona is rich with Tuscan culture – its history as steep as the hill it sits on. Walk to Monte S. Egido to visit Eremo Le Celle, a deeply serene and spiritual monastery founded in 1211 by St. Francis of Assini. Or discover the town’s Etruscan heritage at Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca, crammed with works of art and artefacts dating back to the 5th century BC.
At less than an hour from the Montepulciano wine region, there’s no wonder Cortona is known for its vast vino selection. Spend an evening sampling locally-made reds in an atmospheric wine cellar. Or book a private tour of the surrounding vineyards and wineries, drinking in the intoxicating Tuscan scenery as you go.
Championing traditional Tuscan cuisine, Cortona chefs are experts in their craft. Savour stuffed zucchini flowers in the spring, or autumnal favourites such chestnut ravioli and rich wild boar. Pair these locally-sourced ingredients with the musky notes of a regional red wine. And it wouldn’t be an Italian adventure without the dessert that’s always on the menu: homemade gelato.
Follow in the footsteps of Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun – you might even spot the villa featured in the film adaptation.
Top tip from SLH