Under the Tuscan Sun - CORTONA

A view of Cortona, a Tuscan town with a very long history reaching back into prehistoric times.


Cortona is a lovely town with the look and feel of “Old Italy.” Situated a few miles from the Tuscany-Umbria border, it overlooks a gorgeous countryside. With its narrow roads, olive groves and vineyards, the entire area provides a romantic setting for a summer holiday.

From its vantage point in central Italy, Cortona is midway between Italy’s east (Adriatic) and west (Tyrrhenian) coasts. Its nearest major cities are:
  • Rome 104 miles (166 km).

Cortona is built on the crest of Monte Sant-Egidio. Portions of the city walls date back to the time of the Etruscans. From the top of those walls, one can see the Valdichiana Plain, the mountains of Siena and the great expanse of Lake Trasimeno. From the face of those walls, ancient city gates still open to traffic from the winding roads below.

With its sweeping views, Cortona was home to medieval artists like Pietro Da Cortona (born Pietro Berrettini) who created magnificent works (including The Stoning of St. Stephan) for churches such as the San Ambrogio della Massima in Rome. (The St. Stephan painting is now owned by the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.)

A famous triptych (three-section) altarpiece by Fra Angelico, at the Museo Diocesano in Cortona, was damaged during WWII and restored between 1946-50. Its centerpiece is the Madonna with the Child and Angels (1435-36).

Another stunning Fra Angelico work - this one called the Cortona Altarpiece - features the Annunciation and six smaller pieces. It was prepared for the San Domenico church in Cortona and is also presently housed at the Museo Diocesano.

Cortona’s history, like other towns in Tuscany and nearby Umbria, is steeped in the lore of ancient and medieval tales. How far back in time does that history actually extend?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Feb 26, 2020

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"CORTONA" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 01, 2003. May 26, 2020.
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