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Hike to the upper town

  • Hike to the upper town

    Be prepared for a hike to the views at the top by the Medici fortress, the Fortezza del Girifalco, which occupies the site of the Etruscan acropolis. Set high above the Valdichiana plain, Cortona surveys terraced slopes of olive groves and vineyards. This perfect medieval town is deservedly popular but escape the summer crowds for this lofty setting. Set on a rocky spur 600 metres above sea level, Cortona climbs upto a Medici fortress and uplifting views of both Lake Trasimeno and Monte Amiata.

    First of all, it’s a steep climb up to the Basilica di Santa Margherita, on Piazzale Santa Margherita, dedicated to the city’s patron saint, a follower of St Francis. The citizens of Cortona still make pilgrimages up the winding stone-flagged streets to her tomb to offer her prayers during hard times.

    The Medici Fortress above is somewhat overgrown, but the views from up here are splendid, and it’s a tempting spot for a picnic. The fortress is a fine example of military architecture, rebuilt in the 16th-century under Cosimo I de’ Medici’s rule. Writer Henry James admired this “crumbling citadel” but it has now been salvaged for the town. After major restoration, the fortress re-opens by summer 2018 as a cultural centre, complete with photographic exhibitions, jazz concerts, a bistrot and wine bar.

    Web: www.fortezzagirifalco.it

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A lunch break is scheduled into this tour, nobody should go hungry on a trip to Italy. The cost of lunch is not included in the price of this tour, but we're happy to give you suggestions about where to go to grab some pizza or a panino.

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