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Cortona: Tuscan Jewel of Fine Art and Living

The last weekend of June my wife and I went to Cortona, a lovely town located in Southern Tuscany, nestled on the side of a gently rising mountain side. Cortona represents an important historical and cultural center in Tuscany, as it used to be one of the hubs of the Etruscan empire. Nowadays Cortona is a small jewel in Tuscany and a popular cultural center.

Since the writer Francis Mayer published her famous book Under the Tuscan Sun, and following the making of the hugely successful movie in 2003, a Summer festival called “Tuscan Sun Festival” was born. The Tuscan Sun Festival lasts three weeks and includes a wide range of cultural activities, such as free outdoor classical concerts in the main square of Cortona, yoga classes in the bliss offered by the Chiana Valley, and full cooking courses.

Apart from this recently acquired popularity the city has always piqued my sense of beauty and love for culture. Because of its beautiful position on the mountain side, it was possible to enjoy an incredible landscape of the Val di Chiana, with its rolling hills and cultivated fields forming patches of different colors, like a huge quilt spread over the countryside, with occasional towns dotting the picture.

Nightlife in Cortona offers much for the size of the town. Cortona has three dance clubs and several bars to enjoy a quiet drink along the streets of the town or in the theatre square (where the movie “Life is Beautiful” was shot). Also rich in restaurants and trattorias, Cortona offers all kinds of opportunities to taste fine culinary fusions at La Loggetta, or eat true Tuscan dishes such as the popular Tuscan Bread Salad.

This part of Tuscany also has a wealth of quality vacation rentals and fine luxury B&Bs. If I may suggest one, it would be Villa Vignacce, where we had the pleasure of spending a week during our stay. Just 30 minutes from Cortona, it offers all the comforts with a wonderful family environment. Just three little apartments are available, so it is easy to ensure this charming stay never gets overcrowded. And it’s great value for your money!

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