Cortona vs. Arezzo

Oct 12th, 2000, 03:22 PM
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Cortona vs. Arezzo

Does anyone have suggestions on either one of these villages, including hotel. I am thinking about stopping in one of them for two nights on my way to Florence. Also, if you had only two towns to sidetrip to, from Siena, what would you choose? I am considering Volterra and Montepulciano. Thanks.
Oct 13th, 2000, 06:50 AM
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jodi, when are you going? i'd suggest checking into what festas or other special events might be happening in each city. that might make it easier to decide. montepulciano would be a sidetrip from siena for me, but i'm not sure what my other choice would be. have you considered lago trasimeno? it's maybe an hour away.
Oct 13th, 2000, 11:29 AM
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Neither Cortona nor Arezzo are what you'd call "villages," but Cortona (population around 25 thousand) is a good deal smaller and more picturesque than Arezzo. It's also far more touristed, and there are a fair number of American students there because some American university has a campus there. It's pretty much what you think of when you picture a Tuscan hill town. Arezzo, with about 90 thousand inhabitants and some industrial suburbs (it's a center of goldsmithing), is not exactly a quaint hill town, but parts of the historic center are really quite lovely and there are a number of nice things to see. There's an antique fair there the first weekend of every month, if you're interested in that sort of thing. The marvelous and famous Piero della Francesco frescoes in the church of San Francesco seem to go in and out of restoration constantly. I don't know their current status. Anyway, Arezzo and Cortona offer two different types of experience -- it's up to you which you'd prefer.
Oct 13th, 2000, 05:09 PM
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Hi Jodi, I agree 100% with JT , in Cortona we stayed at Hotel St Michele and liked it very much.
Oct 13th, 2000, 05:11 PM
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.....between Volterra and Montpulciano
I would choose Volterra a terrific destination... Good luck.
Oct 14th, 2000, 01:16 PM
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Hi Jodi,

Iíve been to Arezzo but only to see the Piero frescoes and was not disappointed. If youíre going only for the frescoes (remember to have coins, 100L I think, for the lights so you can see the frescoes) you could also do Volterra in the same day. I didnít really see much else of the town but didnít think it was all that charming. A good friend just came back from Italy and she loved Volterra and another friend was there years ago and I remember her mentioning how much she like it and suggested I visit but I couldnít squeeze it in Ė thereís so many towns to see.

KT Ė are you a Piero fan? Did you see the pregnant Madonna in Monturky? I went there for the painting but, alas, it was under restoration.

Oct 16th, 2000, 09:30 AM
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Adrienne -- Yes, I'm a (yet another) Piero fan. I was an art history major in a former life, for what it's worth (not much, believe me). That makes it even more embarassing for me to realize that there was a typo in his name in my post. I should have said "Francesca." "Della Francesco" is not only wrong, it makes no grammatical sense in Italian.

Since I've usually been dependent on public transport in Italy, I've never quite made it to Monterchi, but it's on my to-do list.

As long as I'm babbling, I'll mention another just one other nice place in Arezzo: the Piazza Grande. On one side is the Pieve di Santa Maria, a beautiful Romanesque church. No, overall Arezzo isn't wildly charming, but it does have some things worth seeing other than Piero.
Oct 18th, 2000, 04:22 AM
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I haven't been to Volterra but Montepulciano was one of my most favourite places in Italy. We planned to stay in Sienna and daytrip to Montepulciano but left accommodation arrangements till the last minute and ended up reversing the plan when it was difficult to get a room in Sienna. We were really pleased it turned out that way....Sienna was great but Monte is much smaller and manageable and my only regret was that we didn't stay longer.
Would love to hear what you do....Volterra too.
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