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florencebound Mar 16th, 2005 05:32 AM

Is cortona too far out to stay in Tuscany?
My husband and I are going to Italy for the first time in may. We are planning now (thanks to the great advice on this board) to stay in Florence for 3 nights and out in a Tuscan town for the remainder (4-5 nights). In my research I came across a great lodging location, or so it seems, in Cortona. Is that too far away from everything? (We will have a car) Can you recommend any more centrally located towns/accomodations? All help is much appreciated!

Grinisa Mar 16th, 2005 05:38 AM

I think Cortona is a very central location, good for seeing Tuscany and Umbria, especially if you have a car.

bobthenavigator Mar 16th, 2005 08:08 AM

Cortona is fine for Umbria but not my favorite places in Tuscany. You are better off, IMHO, south of Siena near Pienza, San Quirico, and Montalcino.

Lorac1127 Mar 16th, 2005 08:18 AM

I totally agree with bob.

Since you will be staying in a city, you may want to stay in the countryside or a smaller town in Tuscany. Pienza, Castellina, Montalcino would be my choices...even Panzano or Greve or Radda are nice locations.

But do go to Cortona which is a lovely town.

Grinisa Mar 16th, 2005 08:28 AM

Certainly if you want to concentrate on the Siena, Montalcino, Chianti area of Tuscany, you could stay closer in. I don't know why bobthenavigator says Cortona is good for seeing Umbria and not Tuscany as Siena and Assisi are both 71 km from Cortona and take about an hour to drive to. If someone is willing to drive within an hour's radius, Cortona can't be beat for a central location for seeing many towns in both Tuscany and Umbria.

StuDudley Mar 16th, 2005 08:56 AM

I agree with bobthenavigator also. Actually, Cortona is not one of my favorite towns, and the area around Cortona is certainly not as pretty as other areas in Tuscany. Like bob, I prefer the Pienza/San Quirico locations.

From Cortona, if you head south towards Perugia, there is a lot of ugly commerce until you get past Assisi. North towards Arrezzo is OK but not really scenic. West is ugly commerce also, until you get past the freeway about 5 K. East, where I believe Francis Mayes lives, is prettier but that is not a direction you will taking very often, if ever. When you head out for your day's activities, the first 30 mins will be through not-so-scenic Tuscany.

On the other hand, if you stay near Pienza or San Quirico, for an hour in any direction, all you will see is the loveliest countryside you can imagine. Only when you get to the outskirts of Siena, and then east past Montepulaciano towards Cortona, do you see something not so scenic.

Surround yourself with wonderful countryside, and stay in the Pienza/San Quirico area. You won't believe how pretty it is.

Stu Dudley

BoulderCO Mar 16th, 2005 11:35 AM

Another vote for the Pienza area. Cortona is a nice town but as others have said the countryside surrounding it is not nearly as pretty as around Pienza.

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