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CORTONA

 

This strategically situated town, like nearby Arezzo of Etruscan origins, while still in Tuscany is close to the border with Umbria. It is the birthplace of painters Luca Signorelli and Pietro da Cortona. On the upper reaches of the city, just below the Gyrfalcon Fortress, stands the church of Santa Margherita—once the end-point of many pilgrimages.

Coming down by bus to Piazzale del Mercato (market square), going through the two-arched gate, we flank the ancient Etruscan city walls along Via Jannelli, one of the city's most characteristic streets.

We visit the Cathedral and, if you wish, the Diocesan Museum.

We then move toward Piazza Signorelli where we find the city's theater and Palazzo Casali, built by the Casali family who lived there until 1409; today it holds the Museum of the Etruscan Accademy of Cortona (MAEC—Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca di Cortona).

We then reach Piazza della Repubblica, where the Roman forum once stood in what is still today the central area of town boasting various palazzi (family residences) as well as the Palazzo del Comune—the seat of government for once-independent Cortona whose history will be explained in detail. This piazza is connected to Rugapiana or Via Nazionale, the only level street of Cortona, itself crossed by the Corso, filled with shops and marvelous alleys which climb or fall and contribute to the city's particular charm.

Our last stop is Piazzetta Garibaldi, at the end of Via Nazionale from which we can enjoy the wonderful view of the Chiana Valley and nearby Lake Trasimeno.

DIOCESAN MUSEUM

The nine rooms of this museum hold works of inestimable artistic value such as Luca Signorelli's Lamentation and The Apostles' Communion.

Perhaps the greatest masterpiece housed is the panel painting by one of the Renaissance's most famous artists, the marvelous Annunciation from the nearby church of Saint Dominic.

Reaching the upper floor from the broad staircase we reach the part of the building which used to house an oratory, elegantly decorated with fresco cycle attributed to the school of Vasari.

The Passerini Vestments, a set of vestments commissioned by Cardinal Passerini on the occasion of a visit to Cortona by Medici pope Leo X are of great value.

Before leaving cast a glance upon the preparatory drawings by futurist artist Gino Severini for a representation of the Stations of the Cross.

WINTER HOURS 10.00 – 17.00

SUMMER HOURS 10.00 – 18.30

CLOSED ON: MONDAYS, 25 DECEMBER

MUSEO ACCADEMIA ETRUSCA

In the basement, a series of rooms display all of the objects recovered fom the tombs at the nearby archeological site at Camucia. The Etruscan Lantern, found at Fratta and bought by the members of the Etruscan Academy, is unique: finely-worked mythological and animal figures including harpies, sirens, centaurs, and dolphins are alternated in the different registers around the head of Gorgon, covered with little snakes.

The Tabula Cortonensis is of great interest—an Etruscan artifact in bronze discovered in 1992 with writing on both sides for a total of 40 lines whose text mentions the sale of a proprty near Lake Trasimene.

The small Ginori Temple should not be missed. A gift to the Academy by one of its officers, Carlo Ginori, it was made at the Ginori porcelain works at Doccia in rococò style, rich in allegorical figures.

 

WINTER HOURS 10.00 – 17.00

SUMMER HOURS 10.00 – 19.00

CLOSED ON: MONDAYS IN WINTER, 25 DECEMBER

 

TUMULO II DEL SODO

HOURS 8.30 – 13.30

CLOSED ON: MONDAYS

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