Arezzo and Cortona - Under A Tuscan Sun

Trip Start Mar 03, 2005
Trip End Mar 04, 2006

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Monday, December 19, 2005

While the locals return to their working week, I headed to the train station and into the Tuscan countryside to the town of Arezzo. It is very Tuscan... so Tuscan indeed that the Academy Award winning Benigni film 'Life Is Beautiful' was partly filmed here in the Piazza Grande.

Arezzo is a city famous for frescoes in its churches. It is relatively small for a city of 90,000, but it is an easy walk around the cobblestone streets.

I'll admit I didn't see the best of the frescoes. At $10 a visit, I did the maths and decided that seeing another frescoe wouldn't change my life, but an extra tenner in my pocket might. So instead I waited outside and peeked into the Chiesa di San Francesco when someone opened the door. I did however see the second best frescoes that Arezzo has to offer, as they are free, at the Chiesa di San Domenico.

Sometimes you have to make these sort of decisions when you are travelling on a budget. Hmmm, frescoes, or more Italian food.

As there was still a couple of hours light left in the day, I jumped back on the train and headed to nearby Camucia, followed by a short bus ride up into the hills, where the town of Cortona lies perched on top of the Tuscan hills. Benigni also had a go here for his film. It is your quintessential cute Tuscan town.

There are olive groves in the surrounds, red roofed buildings, old Cathedrals in the valley below, Piazzas to amble, coffees to drink, and a few frescoed churches to finish it off.

Those of you seeking the perfect little town to invest in an Italian villa should look no further than Cortona. It is what you are looking for. Diane Lane is around here, somewhere....
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