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Cortona, Arezzo

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Cortona - ARCortona is an enchanting Tuscan hilltown in the province of Arezzo at 600 metres above the sea level.
The landscape is beautiful: green plains and hills which stretches as far as the Sienese mountains and Lake Trasimeno.
Cortona has been made more famous in the 1990's thanks to the book "Under the Tuscan Sun" by Francis Mayes.
The town is enclosed within the ancient city walls which goes up and down the slopes of Monte S. Egidio, stretching for almost three kilometres in total.

Cortona dates back to the Etruscan's time as evidenced by the foundations of the defensive town walls and the several tombs located in the countryside below the town.
The artefacts discovered in the tombs have been moved the MAEC museum (Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca e della città di Cortona) in the beautiful Palazzo dei Casali, in the centre of Cortona. The museum contains some valuable antiques from Egyptian and late Roman times and the prize exhibit is a bronze chandelier dating to the 5th century BC.

Renaissance period left behind some important reminders of its past that are still perfectly conserved: presumably the medieval city sprung up inside the Etruscan walls and was subsequently enlarged with the addition of some splendid Renaissance buildings. Once the town was ruled by the Florentines it went into decline because of high taxation and minimal investments.

Heading along Via Nazionale, the main street, you come to the Piazza della Repubblica where you can see the XIII century Palazzo Civico. At the end of Via Nazionale there are great views towards Lake Trasimeno and across the Val di Chiana, the broad valley below Cortona.

Cortona is also famous for its gastronomic delights: an extremely delicate olive oil, Cortona DOC wine, meat of chianina cattle and cold meats as Finocchiona. Cortona has some excellent sweets too such as cantucci, ossi di morto (literally “dead people’s bones” due to their flaky consistency) and ricciarelli.

An event not to be missed is Cortonantiquaria, one of the most interesting national antique fairs. The event takes place every year in the halls of Palazzo Vagnotti and Palazzo Casali, from the last Saturday of August to the second Sunday of September.
Cortona also yearly house The Tuscan Sun Festival, an art and music festival declared by The Indepedent (UK) to be "One of the 10 best summer art festivals in Europe".

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