Do you know Cortona? OK we are all in love with Tuscany, its hills, its “Cascine”, its Trattorie and the great food, the art scene…so Cortona has all of it plus something more; this charming town is the real queen of Chiana Valley, in southern Tuscany.
I’ve been there lot of time, and thank to a friend of mine that has a wonderful house there, i’ve had the pleasure to discover it, living like a local, and every time i’m amazed by the uniqueness of this little gem!
The city, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a green hill; this position over the valley offers a spectacular view from all over the town of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno.
The heart of Cortona
(Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Signorelli are the very center) offers many interesting places to visit, cultural events (the coolest one for me is the Festival “Cortona on the Move” http://www.cortonaonthemove.com) and of course an incredibly gastronomical experience.
Below the list of my favorite “where to eat”!
– Pasticceria Banchelli: the location is not so charming (since when they moved in a “modern” space) but their “bomboloni” are still a unforgettable!
– Bar Caffè Signorelli: a super simple but typical Italian Bar located in the very center of the city, where you can enjoy a very good espresso and pastries with the locals
– Bottega Baracchi http://www.bottegabaracchi.com: it’s a quite new spot in town open from Breakfast ’til night (they’ve a good wine selection too) but I love going there for my mellow breakfasts with their healthy fresh pressed juices while watching the fantastic panorama and the valley (plus their wi-fi is the best in town 🙂 )
– Osteria del Teatro http://www.osteria-del-teatro.it: this is for me “the perfect Trattoria”, the food is excellent (and the chef really friendly) the wine list unbeatable and the location…unique. Plus during the summer they have few romantic little tables outside!
– La Loggetta http://www.laloggetta.com
: named after the beautiful loggia from where you can admire some of the most enchanting historic palaces of Cortona
, is a refined restaurant run by a group of young people who have devoted themselves to this business for many years. The chef pays always attention to the territory and the seasons by perfectly using all the local ingredients of the season. Strongly recommended for super romantic dinner.
– Ristorante La Grotta http://www.trattorialagrotta.it
: situated right off Piazza della Republica, but hidden little private street; i love its medieval atmosphere (
It feels like you are eating in the basement of a castle) and the simple but super authentic menu (that’s why is loved by locals and tourists). I can’t resist to their homemade tagliolini with truffle
– Ristorante Tonino http://www.ristorantetonino.com
: Tonino is an institution, not only in Cortona but in the whole Tuscany, for his restaurant and above all his catering service (really one of the bests in Italy). The restaurant is super classic (a bit too formal for me) with a beautiful terrace that looks on the valley; Tonino’s dishes are an elegant and contemporary interpretation of the traditional Tuscan and Umbrian cuisine.
Where to Sleep
– Il Falconiere Relais and Restaurant: if you are looking for the PERFECT place to stay in the countryside you’ve got it! It’s a boutique hotel, owned by a great couple, set amongst vineyards and olive threes, with a fabulous pool and, last but not least, a Michelin starred restaurant…they will make your holiday unforgettable
– Airbnb: in case you are a couple and you like to use Airbnb (i often do that) i strongly recommend you Berrettini Tower. It’s simply amazing and super romantic; a little apt, located in the Center of Cortona, Piazza Signorelli; from here you have the best view of the town and the valley around and you will feel a local 100%
What to buy:
The central Via Nazionale (or Rugapiana) is full of little shop to buy the local products; don’t forget to bring with you a bottle of Syrah (my fav is by Fabrizio Dionisio), a bag of dried Porcini mushrooms and a piece of cheese Pecorino di Pienza
If you are a wine lover i suggest you to pass by at Molesini in Piazza della Repubblica, they ship worldwide
FollowMu, book you trip to Cortona and get ready to fall in Love
PS: don’t forget to visit the Diocesan Museum (where you can admire a beautiful panel painting of the Annunciation by Beato Angelico) and the MAEC (The Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona), where it is possible to see many artifacts found in the Eruscan archeological sites in the area.