Cortona is a city of art, history and spirituality, located in Tuscany, Italy. Fifty miles from Florence, and flanked by hills and valleys on both sides, Cortona is the picturesque setting in the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’. Cortona has attracted tourists for nearly 400 years, and has changed little during that period. Many people go every year to stay in some of the beautiful apartments and holiday homes in the city, or farmhouses in the beautiful surrounding countryside.
A lot of visitors are attracted to Cortona’s medieval architecture, which is embodied by the characteristic steep, narrow streets. The main street – via Nazionale – is the only street in the city which has no gradient. Many locals call it Ruga Piana – or ‘Level Street’. The city walls should be your first port of call, and date back over 3,000 years.
Cortona is steeped in culture, and there are three institutions to visit whilst on holiday in the city. These are the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, the Civic and Academy Library and the Historic Civic Archive. The city also boasts many churches which date back hundreds of years.
Being a historic Italian city, Cortona offers visitors a great range of trattorias and pizzerias, as well as traditional Tuscan restaurants which serve fantastic food and fine wines. The city does not possess a raucous nightlife, but there is still a good selection of bars to choose from when relaxing after a busy day of sightseeing.
A visit to Cortona is not complete without a trip into the countryside. If your holiday rental accommodation is based in the city centre, you can even hire a bike to explore the many hills and valleys just a short distance away. Some places of accommodation also offer cycling tours at a small cost.
If you have several days holiday in Cortona, you may consider visiting the city of Perugia, which is around 50km away. Perugia is a popular tourist destination which is famous for its chocolate. A chocolate festival is held every October. Perugia also boasts some impressive medieval architecture, and is well worth a visit.
Cortona enjoys a warm, dry climate, with summer temperatures averaging around 24C. July and August are the warmest months and the most popular with visitors. The winters are less busy in terms of tourists, but are still a mild 11C on average.
There are two main airports to consider when holidaying in Cortona – Rome (FCO), Pisa (PSA) and Florence (FLR). Some budget airlines do fly to Florence Airport, which is nearer (around 110km away), but there is usually more regularity and better offers on services to Rome.