There is a small hill town under the Tuscan sun called Cortona. Its undulating landscape, mountain backdrop, refreshing sky, many paintings and sculptures, and amazing food and wine are overwhelming to say the least. Roughly 100 kilometres from Florence and 200 kilometres from Rome, the place is a utopia come true for visitors looking to unwind and surrender themselves to the picturesque panoramas of a cosy hill town. Let Renaissance art and architecture keep you occupied for hours, and stroll endlessly through winding pathways, passing through cafés, markets,bars and piazzas.

The city is small, but the list of places worth visiting is quite elaborate. The Palazzo Comunale (communal palace) in the heart of the city steals the show with the 13th-century Cortona town hall. Truly communal in spirit, it is the hub for musical concerts, weddings and family gatherings. Those enthralled by Etruscan history should visit the Diocesan Museum and the archaeological park. The number of churches in Cortona is in double digits, but you need not bother visiting all of them. In fact, you can even spend your day overlooking the valley surrounding Lake Trasimeno with a novel in hand, or strolling purposelessly to absorb the mood of the charming town. There are enough sunflowers, homemade wines, quaint shops, and, of course, music in the air to uplift your spirits.

Walking around the city also exposes you to a plethora of human activity. The place is a classic mixture of warmth and affection without any pomposity.

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Displays of intimacy and impromptu music gigs are not uncommon in the town's streets
Displays of intimacy and impromptu music gigs are not uncommon in the town's streets
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Hotel Oasi Neumann at Cortona, in an interplay of light and shadow


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Cortona is defined by its clean air, green cover and wetlands in the distant horizon
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A passerby wears a T-shirt with variants of the Mona Lisa smile
A passerby wears a T-shirt with variants of the Mona Lisa smile
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One may come across music performances while skirting its bylanes
One may come across music performances while skirting its bylanes
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Life is always sweet on the streets of Cortona
Life is always sweet on the streets of Cortona
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The fashion sense of locals here is always on fleek
The fashion sense of locals here is always on fleek
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A street artist displays his collection
A street artist displays his collection