There's no denying that Tuscany is one of the most beautiful countrysides in the world, let alone in Italy. Picture it: a leisurely stroll down a cobblestone alleyway, taking in the views of the sun glinting off the lush green hillsides, all while being surrounded by 14th-century architecture. It sounds like a dream, doesn't it? If this is the case, then this tiny Etruscan town is the perfect place for an escape.

With a history that dates all the way back to the 13th century and enough charm to match, Cortona has long been the second most popular cultural center of Val di Chiana, after Arezzo. It's also an artistic haven for those who take art history seriously, with a reputation thanks to its Renaissance past. Exploring this town is simple as it should be, but knowing how, and where, to see the magic of Cortona makes a difference.

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Where To Stay In Cortona

If You're Renting...

If Cortona is on the list, then there's great news for those intending on renting a place: It's incredibly affordable. Most Airbnb prices hover just below $100, with many dipping down to $40-$50 for an apartment. An entire house can be rented for as little as $70 so even if one is seeking the utmost in privacy, that, too, can be budget-friendly. For houses with a view, the price lingers just under $110 per night, making that easily attainable for anyone who can spend a little more on their accommodations. The most expensive Airbnb in the town of Cortona is for an entire villa, and it goes for $181/night. When it comes to booking lodging in this town, Airbnb is the best way to go in order to take advantage of the views and proximity to the town center.

If You're Booking a Hotel...

The hotel prices in Cortona are a bit steeper than Airbnb prices and while the difference isn't drastic, it makes a difference. For those who are more comfortable in a hotel with hotel amenities, the prices hover between $80/night without views, to $150-$240 with them. There are several hotels, such as Hotel San Luca ($51/night) and B&B Piccolo Hotel ($67/night) that are more affordable if travelers book early enough.

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How To Get Around Cortona

An important thing to note is that Cortona allows very few cars within its city walls. Therefore, a major of the residents resort to walking to get from place to place. Since the town is so small, this usually isn't an issue but it's something that travelers should definitely be prepared for.

When getting to Cortona, taxi drivers occasionally have permission to drop travelers off at their lodging accommodations, but that's it - anywhere else requires hoofing it!

What To See While You're In Cortona

Head Down to the Main Square, Piazza della Repubblica

Not much has changed in Piazza della Repubblica except for the life around it. The square itself remains just as it would have during the town's Medieval period, and it's truly the centerpiece of life in this Tuscan hillside.

On any given day, people gather in the square to indulge in the shops that line its side streets, sit on the stairs and read or people-watch, and have breakfast or lunch while taking in the sights and sounds of Cortona. It's the perfect place to start any trip and will give travelers an appreciation for the little things.

Head to Museo Diocesano to See Incredible Artwork

Visitors to Cortona can head to what was once the Church del Gesù but is now known as the Museuo Deocesano (Diocesan museum) to see famed works of art.

The most incredible thing about this museum is how intimate it is, allowing guests to explore two floors of artifacts from the 12th - 17th centuries. Works of art by Pietro Lorenzetti, Luca Signorelli, and Fra’ Angelico are all on display within the museum.

  • Hours: 10 AM - 6 PM Tuesday - Sunday, closed Mondays

Learn About Cortona's Etruscan Past at Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca

Etruscan history is on display all throughout Cortona from its architecture to its culture, and travelers can take an in-depth look at what inspired it all at Museo dell'Accademia Etrusca. This museum has a stunning display of Etruscan artifacts and exhibits, dating all the way back to the 8th century.

Love from Tuscany calls this museum one of the most important tributes to the Etruscan culture in all of Italy, making it a must-see for any potential visitor. Interactive and stationary exhibits include artifacts such as Etruscan coins, urns, jewelry, and paintings.

  • Hours: 10 AM - 7 PM, daily

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