Cortona

I have wanted to visit Cortona for as long as I can remember, even before “Under the Tuscan Sun” made it popular. An ancient Etruscan city, dating back to 600BC it was every bit as magical as I expected. Only a 10 minute drive from Il Castagno, we parked outside the city walls and strolled through the beautiful narrow streets

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lined with every shop imaginable.

Michael even bought a pair of shoes!

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Somewhere along the way, we caught a glimpse of the cloister of Santo Agostino convent.

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Our wandering led to Piazza Garibaldi with an obelisk dedicated to Guiseppe Garibaldi and a commemorative monument to Leonardo di Vinci.

We were lured to lunch at Ristorante Tonino by the breathtaking view.

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Unfortunately, the menu catered for tourists rather than those wishing to experience a traditional Tuscan meal.

After lunch, we walked through the Parterre Gardens, past the Monument to the Dead of World War I,

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a beautiful fountain,

and what appeared to be an amphitheatre.

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There is a marble sculpture, the Dove of Peace, by John D Kehoe who, in 1970, founded an international art study program in Cortona.

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Just past the magnificent San Domenico Campanile

we found ourselves on a tranquil tree-lined path.

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We attempted to find Bramasole, the villa renovated by Frances Mayes in “Under the Tuscan Sun”. We either didn’t walk far enough or we took the wrong turn, sadly, we never found it. Instead, we headed for the highest point in Cortona.

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It was a very hot spring day and after a heavy lunch and a vino or two, it was a bit of a challenge.

Stopping to catch our breath now and then, the sights were rewarding.

The further we got, the more determined we were to make it

and finally, we reached Fortezza di Girifalco.

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We took our time exploring the well preserved ruins of the 16th century fortress.

The panorama over the rooftop of the 14th century Convent of Santa Margherita

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across the Val di Chiana and Lake Trasimeno was spectacular.

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There would be some fascinating stories in the old walled cemetery.

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The Basilica Santa Margherita was built following the death of the patron saint of Cortona in 1297.

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The return walk to town was an easy stroll, I couldn’t resist the intriguing doorways once again.

After a short visit to the Chiesa di San Francesco, built in 1245,

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we enjoyed well earned gelati before returning to our gorgeous villa to sit with a vino and reflect on our wonderful day.

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