Cortona -- just a passing thought

Jul 1st, 2017, 02:46 PM
  #41  
 
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I thought Cortona was a bit of a let down after reading Francis May's books. Not a particularly interesting city.

But it doesn't matter it will be a good jumping off spot for the entire area. And quite frankly, Italy and the Italians are so charming how can you not enjoy whereever you are? Have a great trip. Ciao bella!!
nanabee is offline  
Jul 1st, 2017, 06:36 PM
  #42  
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Thanks, n'bee. I'm not sure most people would have considered Montepulciano interesting either but it was exactly what we wanted on that trip. This one too.

We had an apartment on the secondary main street of Montepulciano and our days went pretty much like this. We'd wake up at leisure, take our time getting out of the apartment, walk 10 doors down the street to the Caffe Poliziano where, if we were lucky, we'd get the tiny table on the balcony and have coffee and a pastry. We'd take a walk around town, do some touristy town thing we'd read about, buy some groceries and go home to read and relax. Around 4 pm we might drive to another town, walk around there and do that town's touristy thing, stop for a glass of wine or cup of coffee, have dinner and drive home. If we stayed in Montepulciano, we'd either cook at home or have dinner in a local restaurant. Then we'd take a long walk, stop for gelato and eat it on the terrace of our apartment.

cheska15, above, says Cortona doesn't have enough 'buzz' in the evenings but that's perfect and if I can get something similar in there, I'll be happy.
goddesstogo is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2017, 03:35 AM
  #44  
 
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>>> I'm not sure most people would have considered Montepulciano interesting either but it was exactly what we wanted on that trip. This one too.<<<

You will enjoy it, but I thought Cortona was a bit steeper than Montepulciano. Perhaps just my imagination as both are steep. Camucia is downhill from Cortona (about 10 minutes) if you wanted a change of restaurant choices nearby (a couple of grocery stores too). While the train station for Cortona is in Camucia, it's really not convenient for day trips. It would be easier to drive.

Keep in mind the small towns in Umbria (Deruta, Bevagna, Spello, Trevi, Montefalco, etc.) pretty much close down 1-4 so plan accordingly so you aren't somewhere with nothing open. Bigger places like Perugia or Assisi will of course have things open.
kybourbon is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2017, 03:55 AM
  #45  
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Thanks again for all this good info.

We'll be doing day trips by train/bus/whatever while we're in Turin and Bologna but will pick up a car when we leave Bologna and have it for the rest of the trip.

It's funny how things, even the staircase in my own house, have gotten steeper in the past few years!

The 1-4 close-down was the reason we didn't get our butts moving till later in the day last time but I really did love that sense of not having to rush anywhere. Good to have specific towns attached to the timing though, so thanks for that.

And that was fun reading, FA!
goddesstogo is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2017, 04:17 AM
  #46  
 
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Goddess, I have a framedi picture of DH and me sitting at that tiny table at Cafe Poliziano. In fact right next to it is a large painting of the exact same balcony with table and chairs that to my delight I found at Homegoods.
I wish I were planning a trip to Cortona. If you loved Montepulciano you will love Cortona.
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Jul 2nd, 2017, 04:41 AM
  #47  
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Micheline, that's so great! That balcony feels like it's just floating in the air over the valley!

I have a similar sort of memory in my house. Our hotel in Venice was next to a very recognizable church right across the canal from the train station. A couple of years ago we were in London at a Canaletto exhibit at the National Gallery and there was a painting of that exact spot -- that same church sans, of course, our hotel. We bought a little print of it and now it's framed and hanging in our bedroom!
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Jul 17th, 2017, 04:28 AM
  #48  
 
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Just came across this and thought interested parties might want to see it before heading to Cortona -- a documentary film about the recent history of Cortona called "The Genius of Place"

http://thegeniusofaplace.vhx.tv
massimop is offline  
Jul 17th, 2017, 04:41 AM
  #49  
 
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We stayed at IL Falconniete at the base of Cortona's hill, set among vineyards. Beautiful place, heart dining too.
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Jul 17th, 2017, 04:42 AM
  #50  
 
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IL Falconierre! The owners are terrific.
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Jul 17th, 2017, 09:37 AM
  #51  
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Thanks so much, massimop! I'll hang on to that and rent it closer to trip time. The photos are beautiful, though.

IL Falconierre looks lovely. We're all set, though, with an apartment right in town.
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Jul 17th, 2017, 09:44 AM
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Their restaurant is open to the public and an excellent place to dine. Plus you'll get to see the property too!
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Jul 17th, 2017, 01:51 PM
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Glad to hear. It looks quite thoughtful and relevant.
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Jul 17th, 2017, 01:54 PM
  #54  
 
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bookmarking
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Sep 17th, 2017, 07:55 AM
  #55  
 
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Topping for myself.
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Sep 17th, 2017, 01:24 PM
  #56  
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This is my week for going over all the relevant posts and making a few notes for myself.

Thanks, everyone, for your good ideas!
goddesstogo is offline  
Oct 13th, 2017, 05:16 PM
  #57  
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Well, hi there!
We just got back this evening after a wonderful three weeks in Italy! I promise to write a trip report but I just wanted to pop in here to give my impressions of Cortona and the infamous escalator.

First of all, here's a photo of the Piazza Della Republica:
http://www.travelviaitaly.com/top-7-...tuscany-italy/

See that building right in the centre of the photo? The sort of pale yellow one with the green shutters? Well, our apartment was directly above that awning and our favourite restaurant was just down the little vicola to the left. A fantastic location and amazingly quiet thanks to the double glazed windows.

OK...the escalator. Loved it. Now I can only speak about this time of year. I don't know how it might look in, for example, winter when there may be less foliage, but right now you literally can't see the escalator from either the top or the bottom until you're practically stepping onto it. At the bottom end there's a gravelly slope and then a cobblestone slope and then some long stairs. At the top there are a couple of short flights of stairs before you get to the escalator. The elevator itself runs down the middle of a leafy hillside.

While it's handy for the tourists, we saw many people using it who clearly lived in or worked in the town or nearby. Same with the funicular we used in Orvieto and the fantastic mini-metro in Perugia. Life must have been very difficult for the residents and workers in these towns before these devices were installed and while I'm all for maintaining the charm of a village as much as possible, I don't think it would be fair of me to insist on residents having to trudge up those hills just so I can have my one-week tourist experience every now and then.

Anyway, more about Cortona and the rest of the trip when I write my TR which I hope I'll get to this week.
goddesstogo is offline  
Oct 14th, 2017, 06:28 AM
  #58  
 
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Welcome back gtg! Cant wait to read your TR.

I dont remember an escalator in Cortona when I visited for just a half day back in 2005. Maybe I missed it or it is newer. I do remember Cortona as one of the steepest hilltowns I have visited! I hiked from the piazza up to the beautiful church. Quite a hike!
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Oct 14th, 2017, 12:03 PM
  #59  
 
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"The elevator itself runs down the middle of a leafy hillside."

I agree. When we found it, we were very happy indeed! I hate that we missed you. We left in, what we thought, was in plenty of time. Too late to try the taxi from the village below. Parked and started walking and soon knew it wasn't going to happen. Asked for help and found none. Moved to another parking lot and a French man knew where the escalator was. It was very well hidden and very much appreciated! Even so, we were so very late. Cortona was simply too hilly for us this week. Rain check in another location!
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Oct 14th, 2017, 03:22 PM
  #60  
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I know, starrs. So close and yet so far. It seemed that everything was working against us -- we tried to call but I couldn't get the call to go through and obviously, if your phone wasn't charged, you couldn't call us. It's definitely hilly getting to the bottom of the escalator. By the end of our visit there, late in the day on Thursday, I was very proud that I could make it to the escalator without having to stop and catch my breath!

Definitely a rain check in another location!
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