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“I guess in 23 days you have to have one bummer”

Cortona Guida Turistica Autorizzata-Silvia Vecchini - Tour Privato
Ranked #10 of 18 Tours in Cortona
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Owner description: Cortona is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo. Originally an Umbrian city, it was conquered and enlarged by the Etruscans, who called it Curtun. During the 600's BC, it joined the Etruscan League. Cortona eventually became a Roman colony under the name Corito. The origin-legends and ancient names of Cortona are described by George Dennis.[2] In the final stages of the Gothic War (535-554), Cortona was sacked and destroyed. Cortona became a Ghibellinian city state in the 13th century, with its own currency. From 1325 to 1409 the Ranieri-Casali family successfully ruled the town. After being conquered by Ladislaus of Naples in 1409, Cortona was sold to the Medici in 1411. In 1737, the senior branch of the Medici line went extinct and Cortona came under the authority of the House of Lorraine. Following the Italian Wars of Independence, Tuscany - Cortona included - The foundation of Cortona remains mixed in legends dating to classical times. These were later reworked especially in the late Renaissance period under Cosimo I de' Medici. The 17th-century Guide of Giacomo Lauro, reworked from writings of Annio da Viterbo, states that 108 years after the Great Flood, Noah entered the Valdichiana via the Tiber and Paglia rivers. He preferred this place better than anywhere else in Italy, because it was so fertile, and dwelt there for thirty years. One of Noah's descendants was Crano, his son who came to the hilltop and, liking the high position, the fine countryside and the calm air, built the city of Cortona on it in 273 years after the Great Flood. The prevailing character of Cortona's architecture is medieval with steep narrow streets situated on a hillside (altitude 600 metres), embracing a view of the whole of the Valdichiana. From the Piazza Garibaldi (still referred to by the local population by its older name, Piazza Carbonaia) is a fine prospect of Lake Trasimeno, scene of Hannibal's ambush of the Roman army in 217 BC (Battle of Lake Trasimene). Parts of the Etruscan city wall can still be seen today as the basis of the present wall. The main street, via Nazionale, is the only street in the town with no gradient, and is still usually referred to by locals by its older name of Ruga Piana. Inside the Palazzo Casali is the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, displaying items from Etruscan, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations, as well as art and artefacts from the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The distinguished Etruscan Academy Museum had its foundation in 1727 with the collections and library of Onofrio Baldelli. Among its most famous ancient artefacts is the bronze lampadario or Etruscan hanging lamp, found at Fratta near Cortona in 1840 and then acquired by the Academy for the large sum of 1600 Florentine scudi. Its iconography includes (under the 16 burners) alternating figures of Silenus playing panpipes or double flutes, and of sirens or harpies. Within zones representing waves, dolphins and fiercer sea-creatures is a gorgon-like face with protruding tongue. Between each burner is a modelled horned head of Achelous. It is supposed that the lampadario derived from some important north Etruscan religious shrine of around the second half of the fourth century BC. A later (2nd century BC) inscription shows it was rededicated for votive purposes (tinscvil) by the Musni family at that time.[3] The Museum contains several other important Etruscan bronzes. The Fra Angelico Annunciation. Etruscan chamber-tombs nearby include the Tanella di Pitagora[4] (halfway up the hill from Camucia): the fine masonry of the tomb stands exposed, but was formerly covered by an earth mound. two at the foot of the hillside at Il Sodo, and a complex in Camucia itself. Il Sodo I, the 'Grotta Sergardi' commonly known as 'Il Melone', contains a passage, opening into parallel passages leading to square inner chambers, within a mound about 640 ft in circumference. Although the chambers are paved with slabs of masonry the walls are constructed of pieces of rock roughly-formed into bricks.[5] This tomb can be visited. Il Sodo II contained a large stone-stepped altar platform with carved sphinxes devouring warriors.[6] The town's chief artistic treasures are two panels by Fra Angelico in the Diocesan Museum, an Annunciation and a Madonna and Child with Saints. A third surviving work by the same artist is the fresco above the entrance to the church of San Domenico, likewise painted during his stay at Cortona in 1436. The Diocesan Museum houses also a group of work by Giuseppe Maria Crespi, known as Lo Spagnuolo, called Ecstasy of Saint Margaret. The Academy Museum includes the very well known painting Maternita of 1916 by the Cortonese artist Gino Severini. There are also examples of the works of Pietro da Cortona. The villa Bramasole built in 1504 was used as the location for the 2003 film Under the Tuscan Sun.
Reviewed 27 October 2015

This tour was without a doubt the worst ever. First, he forgot us and the hotel manager had to get him out of bed. He billed himself as fluent in English and a historian but never demonstrated either. His English was very poor and he wouldn't even try to communicate in other ways. We went to 3 villages, he kept pushing cathedrals and free wine tastings which we weren't interested in. When we stopped for lunch he insisted we go to his friends restaurant. Perfectly fine, but then he fought with my husband over paying the bill which he insisted on doing. When we returned to Cortona he charged my husband and our friends $135.00 per person, a total of $540 Euros when he had quoted in writing $250.00 plus lunch. We had four plates of pasta, a small bottle of Preseco 12 Eros and a bottle of Chianti 14 Euros that makes the charge for the pasta around 65 euros each I believe the menu said 7. Tuscany is so beautiful that even he couldn't ruin our day but I would never recommend this company to anyone. I think he is probably a nice man but way over his head.

2  Thank Dawniemurf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 June 2015

I was expecting so much more from this small town. If you are going here to shop there is not much shopping to do. You could see the town in a half a day. I watched the movie " under the Tuscan sun" and was hoping to see some of the things I saw in the movie.

Thank Terry H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 April 2014

Secluded on a high spur of of Monte Egidio,Cortona is so ancient that it is called the mother of troy and the grandmother of Rome.
We are up at 6.00am, as the fog begins to burn off, leaving fingers of white stretching up towards the town, the Great Cupola of Madonna del Calcinaio rises above the valley, where small islands of trees appear to float in a misty white sea.
This is the same promontory that looks down onto Lake Tasumeno where Hannibal ambushed Flaminius and his legions. the city is perched at the very top of this hill,and its windswept summit where a long stretch of an Etruscan wall- remains,is a museum housed in a former military fortress built by ,your favourite,and mine,the Medici.
Just below the isolated ridge stands the church of Santa Margherita,and descending from the cypresses below it,steeply- staired streets offer knife-thin slices of views or drop suddenly into tiny interior courtyards. At the centre of the city,beyond the dark fall of stairs and the steep slope of streets,is the two-level Piazza della Republica,where the sun washes over the austere medieval and renaissance facades.
The piazza is the heart of this densely built city which is eminently explorable. here people stop to talk,nod at the priest as he passes,or to finger the candlesticks in the antique shop while keeping an eye on the postman as he walks his Vespa down the steep slant of the square. Housewives can buy fish on cool beds of ice in the stone arcade of the loggia near the Passerini House,the 13th century tower,that was once the Palazzo del Capitany del Popolo and that still dominates the upper level.
From the upper piazza,there is a flurry of activity as clumps of schoolboys pass by on their way home for lunch,shopkeepers lock their doors and businessmen cross to the elegant restaurant set within a brick vaulted building nearby. at one corner of the piazza Signorelli stands the Palazzo Pretorio,a magnificent building which now houses the Etruscan Museum.
In the 18th century the city was the centre of Etruscan mania and archeological fervour which led to the unearthing of 1000s of amulets,vases and bronzes inside tombs,revealing the remarkable culture that once flourished in the surrounding countryside. a short distance below stands the cathedral,and across from it, in the Piazza del Duomo,is the Diocesian museum which is a must look-see, for it houses an extraordinary collection of Tuscan paintings,including works by Duccio and Pietro Lorenzetti of the 14th century and by Sassetta and Signorelli from the 15th century and early 16th, as well as ,the exceptionally moving Annunciation by Fra Angelico.
Below the Duomo stretches the Via del Gesu,a row of medieval houses jutting out on wooden corbels,while nearby palazzi are stamped with the vigour of the rusticated stones of the Renaissance.
The streets of Cortona radiate outwards toward the gates and the huge stone walls that encircle it. Dignity and serenity cling to the cool grey -brown stones of its palazzi. Narrow streets become staireways scaling the hill,and rooftops extend over the curving stone walls of houses to communicate across the narrow opening between them,a spatial conversation punctuated by a brisk flap of laundry or a single tree reaching for the sun.

Thank Eli B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2014

We took this kind of treks, as a friend told us that we might find chestnuts in the forests, it was a pleasant trek, not to hard, and I can say about myself that I am not a great walker, but it is about 1000 m above sea level, 500 m above Cortona, in dirt walking track, you will discover a remote monastery in between the fitted forest with very high chest trees, you must leave your car at the top of the hill, and climb upper where you can only do it by walking.
How to get there?
go around the Cortona walls to the top, continue versus Umbria, climb up till you will see on your right hand side a pizzeria castelgirardii, take strong left to Cantalena, continue about 10 km up all the time to toppo di moro and you will see the beginning of the dirt road, park your car on the side, it is very narrow, and continue walking, good luck !!!

1  Thank LaMucchia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 December 2013

A very beautiful city with incredible views. Unlike many of the other hill towns, Cortona has a series of escalators that save you a major part of a rather strenuous climb. The city is beautiful and the views are great. We happened to be there on a market day--lots of fun. Maybe not so much fun in the summer when parking would be a lot more difficult

1  Thank Virgina C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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