45 minutes from Palazzo Terranova
The most striking features of this city are the city walls, joined up by the Fortezza del Girifalco and the compactness of the city centre inside these walls. The city commands a fantastic view of the surrounding Tuscan plains and it's easy to see the important role the city played in Etruscan times as it lays at the crossroads of two important roads; Arezzo - Perugia and Val Tiberina - Siena. Later, in the Roman period, it maintained its importance because just below it ran the Via Cassia, the main means of communication between Etruria and Rome.
A visit to the central Piazza della Repubblica, the heart of the city, is a must; dominating the piazza is the Palazzo Comunale, opposite which there is the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo. In the adjacent piazza there is the Palazzo Pretorio (previously called Casali), which houses the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, established in 1727. The Duomo was built in the 15th century, taking in the pre-existing Pieve di S. Maria.
Cortona has recently become known as the location of the book and film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ and so now receives more visitors than ten years ago. In August, the city hosts a week long music festival and during the first week of September is the national antiques fair for 10-15 days.
Directions to Cortona
Head down to the bottom of the hill and turn right. Follow the windy road through Morra and Volterrano over the mountains to Castiglion Fiorentino. Before arriving at Castiglion Fiorentino, turn left at the sign marked SS71 Arezzo. Follow this road until arriving at an intersection with traffic lights and turn left. Continue along this road following all signs to Cortona.