Sights in Cortona



Sights in Cortona, Italy

This small charming town was recently made famous by the novel and movie, "Under the Tuscan Sun."  The ancient medieval hill town of Cortona is surrounded by a massive rectangular wall clinging to the hillside, and is surrounded by olive groves.  Some lower sections of the wall are from the 4th century B.C. when it was an important Etruscan city.  The town's steep streets sometimes turn into staircases as they wind among the stone buildings.


Outdoor cafes, restaurants, quaint shops, and friendly people make Cortona a pleasant place to spend the day.  It is famous as the “City of Art,” and for traditional ceramics of green and dark yellow on an off white background.  


For a special treat visit Cortona on Saturday, its market day.  Create your own picnic from the fresh offerings and enjoy the local color.  With all that this city has to offer, there is one absolute "must see" - the wonderful view over the Val di Chiana and Lago (Lake) Trasimeno.  Make a point to see it at sunset if you can.


Today some 150 students from the University of Georgia come here every summer to study art.  Cortona was the birthplace of these Important artists:

  • Luca Signorelli (1450-1523), a great influence on Michelangelo

  • Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669) a Baroque architect and painter

  • Gino Severini (1883-1966) a Futurist.

Sights located within the city wall

The Museo Diocesano- Home to a significant collection of paintings, including "Annunciation" and "Madonna and Saints" by Fra Angelico.

The Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca-
Displays items from the Etruscan, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations as well as art and artifacts from the Medieval and Renaissance eras.  


Santa Margherita- Inside the church of Santa Margherita there is a fine Gothic tomb (1362) which enshrines St. Margaret who founded the church.

San Niccolo- In contrast, this is a small and intimate church.  If you’re lucky, you may hear nuns from the nearby convent as they sing their prayers.  To enter, ring for the custodian around to the left.


Teatro Signorelli- The Teatro Signorelli was used for the filming of some scenes in Roberto Bernini's film, "Life is Beautiful." 


Medici Fortress- Get off the beaten path and climb the streets upward until you reach the ancient Medici Fortress with wonderful views of the town.

Sights located outside the city wall

Etruscan tombs (6th and 7th centuries B.C.) have been discovered in the countryside below the city.  Ippogea (or Tomba) di Pitagora is just down the hill from the city.  Ippogeo Melone I del Sodo and  Melone II il Sodo are in a small hamlet called Il Sodo, at the crossroads of SS71.  These tombs can only be visited with a private guide. 


The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is just below the city walls and was built in 1485.


Travels with Friends: Learn more about other European destinations and tips for traveling within Europe.

Private Guides: See Europe and learn about its history with your own private guide.


Top of Page

Our Free Newsletter

Europe travel news sent to you 15 times a year.  

Join Today

Best of Europe!

Top sights, hotel reviews, travel tips and more.

Best of Europe

Private Shore Trips

Private Tours in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

Private Shore Trips

Small Group Vacations

Join one of our small group Europe tours. 

Small Group Tours

Other Europe Tours

Tours and day trips to help you explore Europe.

Europe Tours

Your Private Guide

Hire a professional from Private Guides in Europe.

Private Guides in Europe

Custom Trip Planning

Let us help personalize your European itinerary.

Travel Planning

Our Philosophy

Our thoughts on how to best travel in Europe.

Our Philosophy

Home and Contact

For more information or to send us an email.

Home Page     Contact

Car Rentals, Flights, Hotels, Rail Passes