Have you heard of Cortona? Neither had I, until I saw a beautiful picture while I was doing some Tuscany research. I was planning my trip to Florence, for the last May Bank holiday and spotted Cortona.
Where is it?
1.5 hour train journey from Florence and you are left off in a small station called Camucia. It is not the cheapest of train journeys, about 50 euro return. Cortona is an ancient village nestled on a hill above Camucia. You need a taxi to get up there or a car. A taxi is 10 Euro. The road weaves upwards and every turn opens a more gorgeous view of Tuscany. In the distance you can see the lake that divides Tuscany from Perugia.
You enter the city through 4 gates and it is forbidden for cars except residents and taxis. Everyone else parks outside the city gates. Entering the city makes time slow down and eventually stop. You start walking on history, every step you take. It is a stone city. Not the same type of stone like Matera. Cortona is more brick like, darker and it feels more Medieval. The houses have small windows to make sure it doesn’t get too warm during the idea.
The city is made for you to come, and leave your day to day life at the city gates.
Small restaurants and cafes are on every corner, and an abundance of gelato shops lures you in.
The city centre is tiny. It has an antiques market on the weekends and fresh fruit and veggies in the morning. Have a coffee and croissant in the piazza, it is actually very cheap.
Restaurants seem to operate on a brekafast/lunch/dinner schedule. Do not be surprised that there is no service in most places in between the allocated hours. You ca still get a snack and a drink but nothing too substantial.
One thing that surprised us, was that we had to book for dinner, as all the tables outside were fully booked. However, we found a gorgeous restaurant called Tempro and the food was fantastic. Also, shout out to the waiter in there, he was super funny and offered outstanding service.
What to do?
Climb around the city and you will find magnificent views and peaceful places to relax – you and nature. Just the heads up – don’t wear flip flops like I did, as the road up is gravel.
The best thing is to walk around, pet cats, sit on benches and watch other couples do the same. The city is silent, no nightlife or anything like this. Just go there to do nothing. I loved it.
Where to stay?
Hotels are slightly challenging question in there and you are better off staying at an Air BnB. My experience was not very good but the full story is for coming in another post. I will just mention we stayed in a place called ‘Palazzo Tomassi’, which was clearly posing as a 5 star hotel on booking.com but it turned out to be someone’s house. Also, someone’s creepy house. I will update this post with a link to the ‘hotel’ review once it is done.