Cortona is a small charming town in the Valdichiana, or Chiana Valley, in the province of Arezzo in southern Tuscany. The city, enclosed by stone walls dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, sits on the top of a hill about 600 meters (about 1968 feet) above sea level. This dominant position over the valley offers a spectacular view from all over the town of the surrounding valley and even Lake Trasimeno.
Various small shops on the main streets of Cortona offer local handmade items and gastronomical products. Great red wines are made in the area (we are just a few kilometers from Montepulciano and Montalcino) and all of the wine bars offer a wide selection.
There are many restaurants in the city, most offering traditional local and Tuscan cuisine (the Chianina cattle, one of Italy’s oldest, high quality bovine breeds is bred in Valdichiana).
Just outside of Cortona’s walls you’ll find the Franciscan hermitage Le Celle, the first monastery built by Saint Francis of Assisi in 1211, where a small community of friars still lives today. Through the course of the centuries, the hermitage was restructured and enlarged several times but Saint Francis’s small cell has always been conserved in its original state and can be visited today.