LOCAL GUIDAL OF CORTONA

WELCOME
Ciao and welcome to Tuscany! Angela, Federica, Kirsten and Alice are happy that you chose to spend your vacation in a charming place such as it is Cortona and surroundings. If it's as a family, a group of friends or just a romantic getaway for 2, we hope you enjoy everything that Cortona and surroundings has to offer.
Why don't you take a look at our proposals which vary from wine tours, to hiking and biking, learning how to cook Tuscan or simply pamper yourself in a SPA day.
Feel free to ask for a custom proposal. We do it all!

DEPARTURE DAY
On your departure day we kindly ask you to do as discussed with the owner or caretaker on your arrival day.

LOCAL HISTORY
Cortona is a town and Comune in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana after Arezzo.
Originally an Umbrian city, it was conquered and enlarged by the Etruscans, who called it Curtun. During the 7th century BC, it joined the Etruscan League.
Cortona eventually became a Roman colony under the name Corito. The origin-legends and ancient names of Cortona are described by George Dennis. In the final stages of the Gothic War (535–554), Cortona was sacked and destroyed by a warrior named Michael Pasquale, whose mother was Macedonian royalty and father was an Italian fisherman.

Cortona became a Ghibellinian city state in the 13th century, with its own currency. From 1325 to 1409, the Ranieri-Casali family successfully ruled the town. After being conquered by Ladislaus of Naples in 1409, Cortona was sold to the Medici in 1411. In 1737, the senior branch of the Medici line went extinct and Cortona came under the authority of the House of Lorraine. Following the Italian Wars of Independence, Tuscany—Cortona included—became part of the Kingdom of Italy.

CORTONA FOUNDATION LEGEND
Cortona boasts of being founded by Dardano, son of Jupiter (by another tradition, of Atlas) and Electra, who was later the founder of Troy. He was supposed to have been born in Cortona, according to what he writes Virgil (Aeneid, III, 167, VII, 209) and from there he would go to Asia. Following the legend a proverb says: Cortona, mother of Troy and grandmother of Rome. It is said that Dardano was fighting on a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana and was struck by a spear which struck off his helmet and not possible to find anymore. A fortune-teller said that Mother Earth had wrapped the helmet in her womb, because she wanted a turreted city to be erected where the helmet was lost, which would be as impenetrable and strong as Dardano's helmet. So the hero built the walls of the new city, which had its center just where the helmet got lost. The city was named Corito, helmet, changing then to the name of Cortona.

Today, Tuscany is a major cultural center, with museums, galleries and churches full of great sculptures, paintings and frescoes and magnificent monuments built by the greatest masters of all time. Tuscany attracts millions of tourists each year. If you are interested in visiting Tuscany, we hope our guide will be useful in planning your visit and in learning more about Tuscany in general.

LOCAL TIPS:

CURRENCY
In Italy, the best exchange rate can usually be obtained by utilizing ATM cards. ATM machines are found throughout the country. Prior to leaving the United States or your country in which you reside, we recommend that you check with your bank to ascertain whether its ATM card can be utilized in Italy. In most places, ATM machines are operational 24 hours a day.
Major credit cards are generally accepted throughout Italy. Some individuals have found that they can cut their costs by paying cash for their purchases. Be careful to stow withdrawn funds (cash) in a money belt. Also, when using ATM machines, exercise care when entering your personal identification number so that you do not fall prey to prying eyes intent on fraudulent activities.

BANKS AND ATM'S
Banca Popolare di Cortona Via Guelfa 4, Cortona Ph: 0575 698910
Branch of Camucia Via Gramsci 13/15, Camucia Ph: 0575 698911
Branch of Terontola Via XX Settembre 4, Terontola Ph: 0575 698912
Banca CR Firenze Piazza Signorelli 7, Cortona Ph: 0575 630337
Branch of Camucia Viale Regina Elena 1, Camucia Ph: 0575 63861
Banca Etruria Via S. Margherita 2, Cortona Ph: 0575 630603
Monte dei Paschi di Siena Via Nazionale 42, Cortona Ph: 0575 630284

WEATHER
Italy generally has four seasons. The spring and the fall are usually very pleasant for traveling. Winters and summers are generally neither as cold nor as hot as the extreme. In the months of July and August, hot weather can be expected, but in the evenings it is generally cooler with gentle breezes that make life comfortable. If travelers are contemplating a winter rental, it is important that they arrange to take a property that has adequate heating. Heating is quite expensive in Italy, and heating and fireplace wood are virtually always charged as extras based either on consumption or on a daily/weekly rate established by the owner. Information about weather can easily be found online.

MUSEUMS/POPULAR TOURIST SITES
Tuscany is a popular tourist destination. To avoid lines, travelers might wish to avail themselves of pre-booking opportunities. For the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia in Florence tickets can be found online. There is also a fee for this service. If you wish to do a guided tour with us, these skip-the-line tickets are included.

POWER LIMITS
Houses in Italy have a certain domestic power supply (usually 3KW). This means if you put every appliance in the house on all at once the power will probably trip off!

WATER
In a hot Italian summer water can get scarce. Please don't waste it. In exceptional circumstances the local council may issue a hose pipe ban, meaning the lawn may not get watered for a few days.

DRIVING IN ITALY
Check your directions and the map prior to setting out on your trip, and, use a passenger in the car as a navigator to assist you. On country roads, you will find that slower moving trucks frequently impede the flow of traffic. Exercise due caution as you try to get around these trucks. Clients are advised to respect speed limits, particularly in and near towns and villages, as local authorities have been installing speed cameras in the last several years. In built up areas, the speed limit, unless otherwise posted, is 70/50/40 kilometers per hour.

On the motorway (autostrada) the speed limit is 130 km per hour.
On the highway (superstrada) instead it's 110 km/90 km per hour.

Drivers also should pay particular attention to road signs in urban areas. Many cities and towns have restricted areas in their centers where driving is authorized only to local inhabitants or to individuals destined for a hotel in the restricted zone. Drivers should pay careful attention to posted signs and be careful not to enter zones of limited traffic, which are marked by signs "ZTL", since in some cities and towns there are cameras in place that catch violators.

PAYING IT SAFE
Occasionally vacations are ruined by acts of thievery. Utilizing good common sense, travelers in Italy can minimize the possibility that they will fall victims to this. We have the following suggestions:
Utilize fanny packs for the cash and valuables that you are carrying around with you, especially if you are going to be in crowded areas. Lock the access doors to your vacation rental when you leave for the day. Do not leave personal possessions in your car, especially when leaving it in unguarded parking areas. Minimize the amount of currency that you carry with you at any single time.
Should you be victimized, it is important that you report the incident to the police or Carabinieri 112 at the earliest opportunity.

TIPPING
This is always a difficult topic. A porter or a bellboy at airports and hotels always get tips: € 0.50 to €1.00 per bag. If you rent a house that provides housekeeping service and you like the service that has been provided, then by all means leave a gratuity. A service charge is normally included in restaurant bills. If the service has been particularly good, you might leave a small additional tip for the waiter. For the restaurant owner, the best way to express appreciation is to return to the establishment for another meal. Tip theater ushers € 0.50, taxi drivers 5 – 10 per cent of the fare, helpful gas station attendants € 0.50 to €1.00, and leave a € 0.10 to € 0.25 on the counter at the coffee bar.

INSECTS
Insects, bugs and creepy crawlies! Many villas have screens fitted and/or have air con installed. If you are bothered by mosquitoes outdoors (summer months), there are citronella candles (yellow) in most shops locally. It is always a good idea to pack a good insect repellant of your choice and an insect bite cream before travelling. These are also available locally at some shops and at chemists. Plug in adaptors are also available in shops locally for indoors. Insects will be present especially in country locations and it isn’t possible to eliminate them completely. Insects are in much less numbers in early Spring, Autumn and Winter.

LOCAL WILDLIFE IN TUSCANY
The hot sun and long, warm days have encouraged a surprising diversity of wildlife to inhabit Tuscany. Tuscany’s national parks, wildlife reserves, mountains and vast woodland areas provide a habitat for wildlife to flourish. Not many people realise that Tuscany has some fantastic local wildlife to see. Deep in the Tuscan countryside you may come across European animals such as hare, deer, porcupines, badgers, dormice, red foxes, pheasants, wolves, and even wild boar.
Tuscany is also a great place to go bird watching. A wide range of beautiful birds can be spotted throughout the region. Birdwatching enthusiasts should head to the mountains and marshlands to see birds such as the tawny owl, herons, ring ouzel and the rare glossy ibis. Read about some of the most common animals found in Tuscany and book your Tuscan wildlife adventure.

WITH CHILDREN
In Cortona and surroundings there is lots to do with your kids. Why not take a ballooning flight over the gorgeous landscapes Tuscany has to offer or try introducing your kids to cooking with a hands on cooking class where they can learn to make pasta, pizza and dessert.
Let them dwell in history by visiting the Etruscan tombs and learning more about them in the MAEC museum. If you want them to be in fresh air, there are many trails inviting hikers from beginner to advanced... Let their creativity run free with a painting class or Italian lesson. Contact us for any custom idea that we can turn into reality.

CATHOLIC CHURCHES AND MASS
Cathedral of S. Maria Assunta Piazza Duomo, Cortona 11 am - 12 am - 6 pm
Sanctuary of S. Margherita S. Margherita, Cortona 8 am - 10 am - 5 pm
Eremo Le Celle Loc. Cappuccini, Cortona 10:00 am
Abbey of Farneta Loc. Farneta, Cortona 8 am - 11.15 am
On Saturday the Mass is celebrated in the Cathedral at 5 pm (in the summer at 6 pm) and in the Sanctuary of Santa Margherita at 4 pm (in the summer at 5 pm)
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Italy has several public holidays during the course of the year when everything is closed,
except restaurants, coffee bars, fuel stations on the highways and 24-hour cash dispensers (for fuel or for bank notes).

Plan your day trips and shopping expeditions with these dates in mind:
January 1 - - New Year’s Day
January 6 - - Epiphany
Easter
April 25 - - Liberation Day
May 1 - - May/Labor Day
June 2 - - Anniversary of the Republic
August 15 - - Assumption Day
November 1 - - All Saints’ Day
December 8 - - Feast of the Immaculate Conception
December 25 - - Christmas
December 26 - - St. Stephen’s Day (Boxing Day)

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
Inside the Palazzo Casali is the Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca, displaying items from Etruscan, Roman, and Egyptian civilizations, as well as art and artefacts from the Medieval and Renaissance eras. The distinguished Etruscan Academy Museum had its foundation in 1727 with the collections and library of Onofrio Baldelli. Among its most famous ancient artefacts is the bronze lampadario or Etruscan hanging lamp, found at Fratta near Cortona in 1840 and then acquired by the Academy for the large sum of 1600 Florentine scudi. Its iconography includes (under the 16 burners) alternating figures of Silenus playing panpipes or double flutes, and of sirens or harpies. Within zones representing waves, dolphins and fiercer sea-creatures is a gorgon-like face with protruding tongue. Between each burner is a modelled horned head of Achelous. It is supposed that the lampadario derived from some important north Etruscan religious shrine of around the second half of the 4th century BC. A later (2nd century BC) inscription shows it was rededicated for votive purposes (tinscvil) by the Musni family at that time.
The Museum contains several other important Etruscan bronzes.

Etruscan chamber-tombs nearby include the Tanella di Pitagora (halfway up the hill from Camucia): the fine masonry of the tomb stands exposed, but was formerly covered by an earth mound. two at the foot of the hillside at Il Sodo, and a complex in Camucia itself. At Sodo, the 'Grotta Sergardi' commonly known as 'Il Melone', contains a passage, opening into parallel passages leading to square inner chambers, within a mound about 200 m (660 ft) in circumference. Although the chambers are paved with slabs of masonry the walls are constructed of pieces of rock roughly-formed into bricks. This tomb can be visited. Il Sodo II contained a large stone-stepped altar platform with carved sphinxes devouring warriors.
The town's main artistic treasures are two panels by Fra Angelico in the Diocesan Museum, an Annunciation and a Madonna and Child with Saints. The Academy Museum includes the very well known painting Maternità of 1916 by the Cortonese artist Gino Severini. There are also examples of the works of Pietro da Cortona.
Cortona is a small hill town with many churches. Ask us how to visit them.

SPORT CENTRES & GYMS
Stadium "Santi Tiezzi" Maestà del Sasso Ph: 0039 0575 62997
Tennis Club Parterre Rotonda del Parterre, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 62281
Swimming Pool Parterre Monti del Parterre, Cortona Ph: 0039 3286142895
Target Shooting Range Viale Passerini, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 631193
Clay Pidgeon Shooting Castel Girardi, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 631193
Indoor Swimming Pool (closed in August) Via dei Mori, 34 - Camucia Ph: 0039 0575 603929
Sports Centre Tavarnelle Loc. Tavarnelle Ph: 0039 0575 612543
Seven Tennis Club Loc. Sodo 1 Ph: 0039 0575 62427
Seven Swimming Pool Loc. Sodo 1 Ph: 0039 0575 62427
Bocciodromo Cortona Loc. Tavarnelle Ph: 0039 3387245237
Crossodromo Cortona Loc. Pietraia Ph: 0039 3391517248
Centro Olimpia Via Ipogeo 10, Camucia P h: 0039 3922399344; 0039 3336148663
Body Line Club Via Gramsci 139/D, Camucia Ph: 0039 0575 362797
Wellness Village Loc. Vallone 42/B, Camucia Ph: 0039 0575 67131 0039 3664628788

LOCAL LANGUAGE
The local language is Italian although you can also move along well with English and since Italians are very expressive and open people you will surely not have any problems in communicating. Hand gestures welcome!

CULTURE AND ART INSTITUTIONS
Etruscan Academy Palazzo Casali, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 630415
Library of the Etruscan Academy Palazzo Casali, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 637236
Historical Archives Via Casali 1, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 637252
Franciscan Hall Santuario di Santa Margherita Ph: 0039 0575 603116
Public Library in Camucia Via XXV Aprile, Camucia Ph: 0039 0575 62672
Fortress of Girifalco Via di Fortezza, Cortona Ph: 0039 0575 603793

Opening Hours: in summer everyday from 10 am - 7/8 pm
Full Price Ticket: 5,00 €
Reduced Price Ticket: 3,00 €

PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Public Transport in this area is not very well distributed, so we always recommend coming by car or renting one.
However major cities such as Florence or Rome can be visited by train or you can hire a driver. Contact us for a quotation.
Have a look at the national railway website: www.trenitalia.it
If you buy a train ticket at the Tabacchi, train station or self-service machine at the stations, these tickets must be validated at the specific machines at the station prior to boarding a train. Failure to validate your ticket can result in a fine if a conductor checks your ticket on the train.
Taxi service is offered plenty in Cortona and there are several bus stops in Cortona, but with not very regular timetable. Inform yourself at the various bus stops or enquire with us.

WINTER (15.9.2017 - 10.6.2018) from Piazza Garibaldi to Camucia train station from Monday to Saturday included every hour starting from 9 am to 7 pm
SUMMER (11.6.2017 - 14.9.2017) from Piazza Garibaldi to Camucia train station from Monday to Saturday included every hour starting from 9 am to 7 pm and from 7.7.-25.8. also from 8 pm to midnight, Saturdays included.

RESTAURANTS
Cortona offers a wide variety of restaurants ranging from Local Tuscan Mamma Cooking to high cuisine and even a Michelin Star restaurant. The historic centre counts a proud number of ca. 20 restaurants. Also in the surrounding area there are many high quality restaurants and pizzerias.

Here a list of all restaurants in the historic centre:
Bottega Baracchi
Cortona Bistro
BeerBone Tuscan Hamburger & Artisan Beer
Tonino
Sartù
AD Braceria
La Locanda nel Loggiato
Il Gozzoviglio
Il Preludio
Birrificio Cortonese
Fufluns
La Grotta
Il Cacciatore
Pozzo Antico
La Bucaccia
Il Tempero
Nessun Dorma
Pane e Vino
Osteria del Teatro
La Fett'Unta
La Croce del Travaglio
Trattoria Toscana
Trattoria Dardano
Ambrosia
La Bottega dell'Oste
Trattoria Etrusca
El Comanchero
Scara e Beo
Casa Reggiani

NIGHTLIFE
You can enjoy sipping a good glass of wine in one of the many enotecas, bars and caffès which also offer drinks, sitting on stone steps with the best ice cream you have ever tasted, letting your children run around in one of the squares or dancing in the piazza during one of the various evenings in which the piazza turns into your open-air disco.

ICE-CREAM:
Snoopy Ice Cream in Piazza Signorelli 29 - Cortona
Gelato Ti Amo in Via Benedetti 9 - Cortona
Dolce Vita in Via Nazionale 71 - Cortona

ENOTECA:
Enoteca Molesini in Piazza dell Repubblica - Cortona
Enoteca Enotria in Via Nazionale 81 - Cortona
Enoteca Cacio Brillo in Piazza Signorelli 6 - Cortona

CAFFE' & BARS:
Bottega Baracchi in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Pasticceria Banchelli in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Bar 500 in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Tuscher in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Caffè La Saletta in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Caffè degli Artisti in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Caffè Signorelli in Via Nazionale - Cortona
Bar Al Caffè in Via Guelfa - Cortona
Caffè delle Mura in Via Guelfa - Cortona
Caffè Vittoria in Piazza Signorelli - Cortona
Bar La Posta in Piazza Signorelli - Cortona
Nessun Dorma in Piazza Signorelli - Cortona
Bar Teatro Signorelli in Piazza Signorelli - Cortona
Lion's Well Pub in Piazza Signorelli - Cortona

Moving away from the historic centre of Cortona, you can find several places where to enjoy good music which could turn into a disco night:
Seven Point
Cristallo Caffè
Ciao Ciao Disco Dancing

Also the Lake Trasimeno Area offers a great variety of places for a night out in Umbria:
Pescatore Cafè
Darsena
Sualzo Disco Beach

SHOPS
In the historic centre of Cortona there are several possibilities for grocery shopping. 2 minimarkets are situated inside the walls further to greengrocers which invite you with their vibrant colors to buy their local products. A bakery and the best pastry shop Banchelli will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Cortona and Camucia offer a wide range of shops varying from leather, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, paintings, craftsmanship and the list goes on and on...
Fashion cannot be ignored of course and Cortona has not less to offer in that either.
Arezzo, which lies ca. 20 min drive from Cortona is considered the fashion centre of this province with one fashion shop lined up after the other in Corso Italia.
If it's outlet shopping you desire then you need to drive ca. 20 min to the nearest Valdichiana Outlet or step it up in quality and offers by going to "The Mall" in Reggello close to Firenze or Designer Outlet di Barberino di Mugello.

SUPERMARKETS IN THE COMUNE OF CORTONA
COOP Piazza Sandro Pertini 1, Camucia
Conad Via Gramsci 79, Camucia
A&O Viale Gramsci 125/A
Penny Market Via Gramsci 62/C
Open from Mon-Sat 8 am to 8 pm; in summer open on Sunday from 8 am to 1 pm
Molesini SAS Piazza della Repubblica, Cortona
Grocery shop Via Dardano 31, Cortona

LOCAL MARKETS IN THE COMUNE OF CORTONA
The local markets take place once a week in the main squares of the Villages around Cortona from 7 am to 1 pm.
Cortona Piazza Signorelli Saturday
Camucia Piazza Sergardi Thursday
Mercatale Piazza Costituzione Tuesday
Terontola Viale Michelangelo Tuesday

Arezzo – holds a large antiques furniture fair in the beautiful square of “Piazza Grande” in the historic centre of town (no cars allowed)
– taking place over the first full weekend of every month (all day Saturday and Sunday)