PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
Cortona is a romantic tumble of medieval red-brick buildings set high on a Tuscan hilltop. Built around a central piazza, the town is a warren of time-worn lanes and piazzas, set to a backdrop of dreamy Tuscan scenery. The city’s heart is the Piazza della Repubblica – a thriving hub watched over by the town hall’s 700-year-old clock tower. Here, pavement cafes provide a great opportunity to soak up the historic ambience. The alleyways off the square are ripe for exploration, leading to rustic church buildings and new panoramas. The 11th-century cathedral is one of the town’s hidden delights, and reveals a dramatic interior of Renaissance grandeur.
No visit to Cortona is complete without a visit to the nearby Celle Hermitage, a short drive away. This 13th-century complex is best known for its association with St. Francis of Assisi, who once lived there. Umbria is easily explored, too – Perugia, the region's historic capital, is less than an hour's drive away.