Cortona | Valdipierle
The world-famous artistic town of Cortona is located only 10 miles away from our farmhouse in Tuscany, perched up on a hilltop from where stunning views of the Valdichiana, Lake Trasimeno and Monte Amiata may be enjoyed. As Virgil’s legend has it, Cortona was founded by the legendary Dardanus in the place where the mythical hero lost his helmet (Corys) from which the place went on to be named Corito and later on Cortona. Originally a powerful Etruscan walled city, Cortona was conquered by Romans and later by the Goths before it became a free commune in the 12th century. In this period Cortona was at the height of its splendour.
The historic centre of Cortona features steep and narrow stone-paved alleyways and several medieval and Renaissance palaces, such as those overlooking the Piazza della Repubblica and the Palazzo Pretorio, which is the current seat of the Nuovo Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della città di Cortona (New Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona - MAEC). This new state of the art museum houses significant finds such as the famous Etruscan Chandelier, dating back to the 5th century B.C., the Musa Polymnia and the Tabula Cortonensis. The Museo Diocesano, located directly in front of the Cathedral, houses the Annunciation by Fra Angelico and other significant works by important Tuscan artists such as Luca Signorelli, a native of Cortona.
Apart from the Cathedral of Cortona other churches worth a visit are the church of San Francesco, a recently restored gothic church; the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita, which houses the uncorrupted body of the Saint who died in 1362; the churches of Santa Maria Nuova, San Nicolò and San Marco. The church of San Marco features on its façade an impressive mosaic by Gino Severini portraying the Saint with a lion.
The upper part of the town features the Medici’s fortress from which the whole surrounding area may be observed, whilst in the north-eastern part of the hill, right outside the city walls, you will be able to visit Le Celle, a wonderful convent founded in 1211 by Saint Francis.
Cortona offers a rich calendar of events. A wide range of cultural, historical and gastronomic events take place all year round in Cortona. Amongst these the Giostra dell’Archidado (a cross-bow shooting competition and historical commemoration), The Cortona Mix Festival, The Steak Festival and many others.
Landscape and folklore attractions may also be found in the strong>Val di Pierle, the valley overlooked by the ancient castle after which our farmhouse is named.
During your vacation in Tuscany also worth a visit is Lake Trasimeno, which may be easily reached by car from Lisciano Niccone up the old road leading to the “Cima di Tuoro” from where you will be able to enjoy a stunning view of the Lake and its islands.