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Cortona surrounding

An encounter with Cortona is an encounter with art, history and mysticism. Getting to know this timeless town is a real rediscovery of our past. Within its mighty Etruscan walls Cortona jealously guards its treasures and offers testimony to the history of a most noble civilization as well as enchanting views of the landscape enclosed by Lake Trasimeno and the Appenines.

Altare Terrazza a Cortona

From its high perch on top of a verdant hill Cortona dominates the Val di Chiana and offers commanding views over the valley all the way to the peaks of the Monte Amiata. The medieval aspect of buildings and alleyways gives the town a charming, unspoilt air. The Basilica of Santa Margherita and the Convent of Le Celle in the upper part of town invite guests to discover Cortona from up above down a path of art and faith, only a stone’s throw away from the city centre. A walk through the Rugapiana (the only flat street in town) will take you past the Piazza della Repubblica, overlooked by the commanding medieval Palazzo Comunale (town hall) and to the Piazza Signorelli with its Palazzo Casali, the current home of the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca e della Città di cortona (MAEC) that houses vast collections of Etruscan and Roman archaeological finds.


Located at the northern end of town just across from the Cathedral the Museo Diocesano is a real jewel-case housing works by major local artists such as Luca Signorelli as well as one of the most enchanting Annunciations by Beato Angelico. Just outside the city gates at the foot of the hill the Melone I and II at Sodo are two of the finest examples of Etruscan burial-mounds dating to the 6th century B.C. A short drive in the direction of Foiano della Chiana will take you to the Abbey of Santa Maria at Farneta, one of the finest examples of Romanesque art in the area. An event not to be missed is the CortonAntiquaria antique fair, one of the most interesting national antique fairs. The event takes place every year in the 18th century Palazzo Vagnotti from the last Saturday of August to the second Sunday of September.

Le Celle a Cortona

Le Celle

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It was perhaps here that St. Francis dictated his will only four months before his death, in May 1226. After his death (Assisi, 4th October 1226).
Frate Elia retired to Cortona and having completed the church of San Francesco performed major renovations on the convent.

Santa Maria Nuova a Cortona

Santa Maria N.

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Laid out on a Greek-cross plan the church of St. Maria Nuova was initially built to plans by Cristofanello ad eventually completed by G. Vasari when he lived in the area between 1543 and 1550.

Santa Margherita a Cortona

Santa Margherita

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The Franciscan Sanctuary of S. Margherita is where God manifested himself in the person of his faithful servant Saint Margaret of Cortona and as such a timeless place of the spirit that exudes a special aura that pilgrims and worshippers visiting may feel around them.