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Medieval meanderings

  • Medieval meanderings

    Cortona, riddled with medieval alleyways, is a place for meandering rather than ticking off key sites. Now that Cortina is an insider secret no longer, the city’s quaintly crooked, cobbled streets can be awash with summer visitors. Crowds in Cortona are nothing new, especially since an American author gave it a further boost. The city is famous for being the setting of the bestselling book, Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes. Escape the crowds by seeking out Via Janelli for its row of brick buildings with overhanging upper storeys – some of Tuscany’s oldest surviving medieval houses. Other picturesque streets include via Ghibellina and via Guelfa, with their medieval mansions.

    On a higher level, you can also visit the monumental complex of San Francesco, a short walk up from Piazza della Repubblica. San Francesco, encompassing a 13th-century church and the monastery, displays a fresco by Pietro da Cortona. Continue ever upwards to reach the higher part of the town, with its narrow streets and medieval buildings. In the heart of the medieval district, San Nicolò houses Signorelli’s wonderful standard of the Deposition. The steep, crooked streets, linked by stone staircases, work their way painfully to the Medici fortress at the top.
    Web: www.cortonaweb.net

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