Located in the picturesque hills of Tuscany, Cortona is one of the main artistic and cultural centers of the region. As such, there is much to explore and see while in the town, making it a must-visit locale on your list of Italian villas. You will find the natural beauty of the countryside to be thrilling, as well as the medieval and Renaissance-era architecture that is prevalent throughout the city. The following five locations are some of the best sights to behold while in the city and should not be missed.
More of a cozy museum than what many may be used to, the Museo Diocesano has been maintained inside of a centuries-old church (Chiesa del Buon Gesu). The centerpiece of the museum is the Cortona Altarpiece, which was crafted around 1430 and features the Annunciation and six predella pictures alongside it. You will be able to learn much about the town’s history without spending hours walking from exhibit to exhibit, making it a perfect stop after a quick bite of lunch.
One of the oldest known churches in the area, Cortona Cathedral has a documented history going all the way back to around 1000 A.D. Built on the ruins of an old Roman temple, the church served as an impromptu Catholic Church and the bishop’s residence until around 1500 when the Pope designated it as the cathedral seat for the area. While not grandiose and intricate like some of the larger cathedrals of Europe, this quaint church speaks volumes in terms of its structural integrity and longevity.
This area is located alongside a beautiful scenic view of the valley below and features a large, open plaza with plenty of seating for those who wish to unwind and watch life pass by them. As you stare out into the valley and over Lake Trasimeno, you will feel as if you are in the ideal Tuscan environment, with cafes and shops all within close range. While here, be sure to peruse the shops for great local deals and souvenirs for those back home.
Cortona on the Move
Don’t let the name fool you: this beautiful complex has a storied past and has been home to many cultural events throughout the decades. Currently owned by the Academy of Arditi, the complex is used as a theatre, with cafes and conference rooms also available to visitors. The new style of architecture featured throughout the building (updated recently to give it added appeal) meshes well with the older style of brick and stone. The vaulted ceilings, live shows and quiet sit-down areas make this a great place to escape the heat and reconnect with classical architecture and theatre.
For those who want to find the perfect souvenir for those who couldn’t make the trip, Il Girasole offers visitors the best bang for their buck and a great selection on top of that. You will find classic replica jewelry, linens and other accessories for clothing and decoration. The staff working here are very knowledgeable and there is always someone on hand who can translate for you.