Cortona and Valdichiana
The Land of the Etruscans, going back to ancient timesVALDICHIANA: in ancient times the valley was the “Clanis Aretinum”, first drained by the Etruscans and then by the Romans – who turned it into the Granary of Etruria – then wetland again during the barbarian invasions and through Leonardo da Vinci’s time, Valdichiana is now a green and fertile valley, enclosed at est and west by several hills and mountains of different heights: fully cultivated with orchards, cereals, olive groves and vineyards, the valley still maintains several wooded spots. The final drainage of Valdichiana took place in the XIX century and started “modern” agriculture: the territory is still characterized by the square peasant houses called “Leopoldine” and the regular cultivated fields. The local Chianina beef reminds us of the excellent food tradition of the Valdichiana.
CORTONA is set on one of the slopes of Mount S. Egidio that overlooks the Val di Chiana. It still retains its Etruscan and Medieval walls that enclose fine stone buildings, narrow paved perpendicular streets, as Romans used to do, or windy medieval streets, resulting in beautiful sights and fantastic views. Right in the historic centre are the two main squares (Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Signorelli) with the austere Medieval Town Hall, the massive Palazzo Casali (now seat of the Etruscan Academy and MAEC Museum), and the XIX century Signorelli theatre. Not far from Piazza Signorelli, in the northern part of the historic centre are the elegant Cathedral and the Diocesan Museum (that exhibits a world famous Annunciation by Beato Angelico and masterpieces by Luca Signorelli), and Via Jannelli with its typical little houses of the Middle Ages. The upper part of Cortona shows beautiful churches and picturesque corners with breathtaking views: the Church of S. Francis, with the relics of the holy cross and relics of Saint Francis of Assisi, the XV century Church of S. Niccolò, that exhibits a fine banner by Luca Signorelli, the small picturesque Church of S. Cristoforo, along the trail pilgrims used to walk to reach the Sanctuary of S. Margherita, patron Saint of town with S. Mark.
LE CELLE Franciscan Hermitage is a precious gem located just above Cortona and hidden in a thick wood: founded by S. Francis in 1211, still retains the magic atmosphere of all Franciscan places.
CORTONA in short:
- Etruscan city walls of the V-IV century b.C. and a city gate with a double archway of the II century b.C.
- windy streets and steep roads with the picturesque medieval houses in Via Jannelli
- the city theatre "Teatro Signorelli"
- the Casali Palace that houses the MEAC Museum rich in Etruscan treasures
- the Diocesan Museum with paintings by Luca Signorelli and Bartolomeo della Gatta, and one of the three world famous "Annunciations" of Beato Angelico
- the Cathedral rich in beautiful marble monuments in memory of known Cortona people and paintings by Pietro da Cortona
- the church of S. Francis with the relics from Saint Francis of Assisi, the relic of the true cross and paintings by Pietro da Cortona
- the Franciscan Hermitage of "le Celle", founded by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1211
- Cortona Antiquaria, a known antique exibition at the end of August - beginning of September
- the Archidado historic representation, at the end of May - beginning of June
- Bramasole, the private house of Frances Mayes, writer of "Under the Tuscan Sun"
VALDICHIANA in short:
- farms and wineries which produce the excellent Cortona DOC wines
- oil mills that produce the purest olive oil
- stables where the famous Chianina beef and Cinta pork are raised
- orchard estates that produce genuine fruit
- farms that produce great Pecorino cheese
- local handicraft labs
CASTIGLION FIORENTINO medieval hill town that overlooks the Valdichiana, recently discovered its Etruscan origins thanks to numerous Etruscan findings in the fortified area of the city. Characteristic its main square with the Loggiato Vasariano and the Town Hall Palace and just above it the fortified area. Interesting the S. Francis and S. Giuliano churches and the Town Museum, that houses refined masterpieces of medieval goldsmithery, in addition to painted crucifixes and artworks by Bartolomeo della Gatta.
LUCIGNANO, quaint hill town overlooking the Val di Chiana, boasts roman origins and a peculiar elliptic layout. Inside the main walls, streets run concentrically, ending in the centre of the Collegiata di S. Michele, on top of a semi-elliptic panoramic staircase. The Town Museum and the nearby Church of S. Francis exhibit some beautiful artworks of local and Sienese artists, like the "reliquiary tree", a notable piece of antique goldsmithery of the XIV century all in copper, enamel and coral.
MONTE SAN SAVINO ancient fortified settlement of the Middle Ages, still retains a nice historic centre within its town walls. The centre develops along its main street, where one finds the imposing renaissance Town Hall Palace (originally country home of Pope Giulio di Monte), the Logge of the Merchants, the Parish Church and the church of S. Augustine. The medieval fortified area houses the town museum with ancient ceramics.
FOIANO DELLA CHIANA, historically the commercial centre of Valdichiana, nowadays known all over Italy because of its ancient Carnival parades of King Giocondo. It is characterized by an octagonal city wall of red bricks with many towers. Its historic centre preserves masterpieces of renaissance art, like the “Madonna della Cintola" in the Collegiata di San Martino, one of the best glased terracottas Andrea della Robbia, but also the "Ascensione" in the Church of S. Dominic,the “Mourning Women” in the church of S. Francis. Sculptures, paintings, but above all churches, palaces, city walls, create the beauty of Foiano thanks to the extensive use of red bricks.
GUIDED TOURS IN VALDICHIANA - TOURIST TRAILS IN VALDICHIANA - TOURIST ITINERARIES IN VALDICHIANA - TOUR GUIDES VALDICHIANA - TOUR GUIDES CORTONA - GUIDED TOURS CORTONA - TOURIST ITINERARIES CORTONA - TOURIST GUIDES LUCIGNANO - TOURIST GUIDES CASTIGLION FIORENTINO - TOURIST ITINERARIES LUCA SIGNORELLI - TOURIST ITINERARIES BEATO ANGELICO - TOURIST ITINERARIES GIORGIO VASARI - TOURIST ITINERARIES ETRUSCANS IN VALDICHIANA - GUIDED TOURS DIOCESAN MUSEUM CORTONA - GUIDED TOURS MAEC MUSEUM CORTONA - GUIDED TOURS ARCHEOLOGICAL PARK CORTONA - GUIDED TOURS BRAMASOLE UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN CORTONA - GUIDED TOURS LE CELLE HERMITAGE CORTONA- RELIGIOUS ITINERARIES CORTONA TUSCANY - GUIDED TOURS OF VALDICHIANA HERMITAGES AND SANCTUARIES
Renaissance in the Arezzo Territory: Great Small Museums of Valdichiana
From Beato Angelico and Piero della Francesca to Bartolomeo della Gatta and Luca Signorelli - Valdichiana Museums from 17th June to 18th November 2012
Yearly exibition of Antiques - last week of August - first week of September. Book your tour of the exibition to enjoy Cortona at its best with lots of artistic beauty !
Cortona Mix Festival 2013
27th July - 4 August 2013 in Cortona : music and the arts, shows and concerts in the Signorelli Theatre and in the historic centre. Book your tour of Cortona with a magic atmoshpere in town.
MAEC Museum Cortona: Restoring History
The birth of the Etruscan Princes - 18th November 2012 to 5th May 2013
The Carnival of Foiano della Chiana
One of the most ancients street parades of Italy
Masterpieces of the Italian Artist in Cortona
The Cortona Annunciation and other Paintings
The Battle of Scannagallo
The famous battle at Pozzo della Chiana
The Battle of Hannibal
Memories of the battle by Trasimeno Lake
The Valley of the "White Giant"
Valdichiana Land of the Chianina Beef
One of the most charming hill towns of Tuscany
Monte San Savino
Unknown Treasures of the Valdichiana
The Jousting of the Archidado
Cortona: historic jousting end of May - beg. of June
The Maggiolata in Lucignano
Street Parade of Flowered Wagons in May
The "Palio dei Rioni"
Castiglion Fiorentino - June
The "Celle" Hermitage - Cortona
1211 - 2011: 800 years after S. Francis' passage through Cortona
Saint Marguerite from Laviano - Cortona
The church dedicated to the Cortona Saint and Protector
The "Albero d'Oro" of Lucignano
Gold reliquiary in the shape of a tree dating back to the XIV century