CORTONA AND SURROUNDINGS
DISCOVER THE HEART OF TUSCANY
Even if Cortona is a small hill town, many are the attractions that visitors may want to visit. We offer escorted excursions as well as private guided tours with local historic guides for a deeper immersion in the culture of the place. Any of our tours is crafted in timings and itinerary upon your will and inclinations, to genuinely show you the best in town and surroundings.
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DO NOT MISS
1) MAEC MUSEUM
Inside the Palazzo Casali is the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca (MAEC), displaying items from Etruscan, Roman and Egyptian civilizations, as well as art and artifacts from the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The distinguished Etruscan Academy Museum had its foundation in 1727 with the collections and library of Onofrio Baldelli. Among its most famous ancient artifacts is the bronze lampadario or Etruscan hanging lamp, found at Fratta near Cortona in 1840 and then acquired by the Academy for the large sum of 1600 Florentine scudi. Its iconography includes (under the 16 burners) alternating figures of Silenus playing panpipes or double flutes, and of sirens or harpies. Within zones representing waves, dolphins and fiercer sea-creatures is a gorgon-like face with protruding tongue. Between each burner is a modeled horned head of Achelous. It is supposed that the lampadario derived from some important north Etruscan religious shrine of around the second half of the 4th century BC. A later (2nd century BC) inscription shows it was rededicated for votive purposes by the Musni family at that time.
The Museum contains several other important Etruscan bronzes.
2) ETRUSCAN TOMBS
Etruscan chamber-tombs nearby include the Tanella di Pitagora (halfway up the hill from Camucia): the fine masonry of the tomb stands exposed, but was formerly covered by an earth mound. two at the foot of the hillside at Il Sodo, and a complex in Camucia itself. At Sodo, the ‘Grotta Sergardi‘ commonly known as ‘Il Melone‘, contains a passage, opening into parallel passages leading to square inner chambers, within a mound about 200 m (660 ft) in circumference. Although the chambers are paved with slabs of masonry the walls are constructed of pieces of rock roughly-formed into bricks. This tomb can be visited. Il Sodo II contained a large stone-stepped altar platform with carved sphinxes devouring warriors.
3) MUSEO DIOCESANO
The town’s main artistic treasures are two panels by Fra Angelico in the Diocesan Museum, an Annunciation and a Madonna and Child with Saints. The Academy Museum includes the very well known painting Maternità of 1916 by the Cortonese artist Gino Severini. There are also examples of the works of Pietro da Cortona.
Cortona is a small hill town with many churches. The most important church in town center it is the Duomo, dedicated to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the heart of Cortona in a panoramic position. Not to miss the Church of San Francesco, the Church of San Filippo, the Church of San Domenico with a work of Luca Signorelli and the Church of San Marco with an exterior mosaic realized by Giorgio Severini. In the “poggio” (the poggio it is the name of the ancient part of Cortona) you can see the Church of San Niccolò and the small Church of San Cristoforo. The Basilica of Santa Margherita it is dedicate to the patron, Santa Margherita and it is in the higher part of the city. Just outside the city wall the Church of Santa Maria Nuova with is original design from Giorgio Vasari and modified by Battista Cristoforo Fanelli.
5) EREMO LE CELLE
Just outside Cortona the Eremo le Celle: don’t miss the opportunity to visit this place, a small hermitage erected at the beginning of 1200 and famous because hosted San Francesco D’Assisi. This is a place of the soul, the spirituality and the nature around you will be a moment to remember in your heart and in your mind.
6) FORTEZZA DEL GIRIFALCO
In the highest point of Cortona you will se the Fortezza del Girifalco, a fortress build in 1556 commissione d by Cosimo I de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Toscana. The castle is on the top the ruins of similar fortresses from the Etruscan before, then Roman and medieval periods, and destroyed during the “plunder” of 1258. The castle was designed by Gabrio Serbelloni, the cousin of pope Pius IV and Francesco Laparelli (born in Cortona) . The building is shaped like a trapezoid, with four large bastions, and is an incredible example of 16th-century military architecture. Recently restored, the Fortezza del Girifalco now hosts temporary exhibitions and is open to visitors from all over the world. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy a breath-taking view of Cortona and the entire Valdichiana and see spectacular and unforgettable sunset.
But remember, all the Cortona town center it is an attraction: his alleys, his typical shops, his buildings full of history will be something incredible for your eyes and for your heart… we have only one suggestions for you: loose yourself in Cortona and enjoy all the beauty around you.