The city of Cortona is rich with history and legend. It is said that Cortona was founded by Dardanus who then gave birth to the city of Troy. In any case, the founding of the city of Cortona dates back to the Etruscan civilization. According to Livio, Cortona was one of the 12 “lucumonie” (Community center) of the Etruscan state. The city walls, the tombs, the artifacts excavated in gold, bronze, ceramic and terra cotta give creedence to the historical importance of the city.
The strategic placement of the city at 500 meters above sea level, allowed it to dominate the Valdichiana and make it safe defensively.
The most noted testimonials of the Etruscan period in Cortona are the tumulus tombs: I Meloni “the melon tombs” and la Tomba di Pitagora “Pithagoras’ tomb” and the many precious artifacts found in them, including the Etruscan Lamp, which can now be admired in the MAEC museum, housed in the splendid Palazzo Casale in Cortona.
Another significant period of particular splendor for Cortona was the 1200s or the 13th century. Entering into the Piazza della Republica one can admire the Palazzo Communale and the beautiful palazzos and porticos from that period,which open onto the piazza.
Not very far from the piazza and right across from the Cathedrale, is the Diocesan Museum where one can find works by artists known throughout the world like Luca Signorelli’s Deposition and one of the most famous works by Beato Angelico, The Annuciation.
Walking along the streets one can get lost in the history of this wonderful gem of a city which never leaves its tourists disappointed for their choice to come to a place so rich in history and sprituality.
Here Saint Francis founded the Convent of Le Celle “the Cells” on his way from Assisi in 1211. This is one place that we always recommend, a place of prayer and contemplation which will enchant you with its beauty.
The mysticism present in and around Cortona culminates in the Notte Sacri “Sacred Nights”, when the many churches and convents in the city remain open hosting various concerts that are held throughout the week.
Then, there is the more fashionable aspect of Cortona with the innumerable musical, artistic and cultural events that the city offers to its patrons throughout the year. These events attract the attention of the journalists from the most noted television and cultural magazines which, in turn attract many more tourists annually.
In recent years Cortona has also become one of the more sought-after locations for filming. Both movie, the oscar winning “Life is Beautiful” with Roberto Benigni and “Under the Tuscan Sun” from the best selling book by Frances Mayes, have taken Cortona as its back drop.
You will fall in love with this beautiful little city, frenetic and joyful in Spring, under the Tuscan sun in Summer, silent and magical in Winter or dressed in typical colors of Fall splendor in expectation of the new oil and new wine.
This is Cortona.