Cortona is the main cultural and artistic center after Arezzo. The town is located in southern Tuscany and sits above the valley of the river Chiana. The ancient city lay on a steep hill between two deeper valleys.

It is famous for its beautiful Renaissance palaces and houses that are crowded together on top of the hill, which dominates the surrounding countryside. Cortona was one of the 12 cities of the Etruscan League; its origins are uncertain, but it was certainly in existence by the early Iron Age.

When you hear the name Cortona, the first thing that comes to mind is probably the Tuscan hill town in which “Under the Tuscan Sun” took place. It’s a picture-perfect town, but there’s so much more to the area than just that.

There are some things in Cortona that are typical and unique to the city. You should try the Seitan or Tempeh or the Italian version of it called Tofu alla Cortonese during your stay in this city. La Torta di riso al cioccolato is also a favorite amongst many. It is a chocolate rice cake.

Main sights in Cortona

Cortona is a gem of Tuscany, with its stone and brick houses, picturesque streets and panoramic views. The city is located in the valley of the river Chiana, and it is divided into two parts: the old town is located on a hill, the new town – at the foot of the hill. The main sights of Cortona are concentrated in the old part.

The cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta is one of the main attractions of Cortona. Its history dates back to the IX century. The building has undergone many reconstructions in different architectural styles: Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque. The church was built on the ruins of an early Christian temple which, in turn, was built on top of a pagan temple. Inside there are frescoes by Luca Signorelli and a unique wooden crucifix by Arnolfo di Cambio.