Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lovely Cortona

A couple's retreat...Just when I thought, after seeing Arezzo, it could not get any better my husband (and I) had the idea to visit Cortona...alone!

This day was a precious gift to us. Isn't there anything sweeter than a few leisurely hours alone for a hardworking couple with children of a certain age and little time for themselves??? We are not blessed with any family back at home and time for just the two of us is very rare indeed.
We spent the day together, leaving everyone behind and took off to a mini road trip to Cortona, the old Etruscan city on the border to Umbria. We started early towards Arezzo, spend a delightful late morning shopping and sightseeing, had lunch in a tiny Osteria, hidden in a courtyard and covered in Wisteria, potted lemon trees - ripe with fruits - all around us.
We felt giddy with delight just to do as we pleased...
We walked hand in hand through a park, found an old, now overgrown Roman amphitheatre, later a fortress from the middle ages and then continued our journey towards Cortona...

Cortona hangs on high up on a steep hill side, but oh, it's a treasure to behold. A winding alpine road leads up to the first piazza, the views are amazing at every turn. The city is a fortified place, it's thick walls onces protected the inhabitants. Now we walked the steep narrow streets and marveled at every door, nook and cranny. The city is build up on top of itself. Houses from earlier centuries became the foundation of later ones. If only these walls could talk...The temperatures were soaring, but the city was shady and we stayed cool within.

The small city is a time capsule, now lively with artisans and craftsman and -woman. Handmade leather goods, handmade shoes, purses, bags and wallets are on display. The leather scent is so enticing...

I met a wonderful artist, she creates artful batics on larges linen strips, paints delightful pattern on linen dresses and her daughter creates colorful knitted coats and jackets. All this and more she sells at a small, but oh so seductively filled store. I could not resist and bought a lovely dress.
Finely woven linen can be found all over Tuscany, table clothes, hand towels and bedding... Thinking of my luggage allowance taking anything home was out of the question...(And the prices stopped me too, it's very expensive.)
We paused in a street cafe, watching the life around us going on....

Old man spending the afternoon over coffee and grappa, moms with two, three children in tow stopping by for ice cream...tourists making hard desicions as what to bring back home. We felt almost like locals.....

It was wonderful to stroll throught the steep lanes and alley ways, incredible vistas down the mountain and romantic corners wherever you turn.

The rooftops are centuries old, covered with the typical red roof bricks of the region.

Pottted plants, gardens and well taken care of old houses give this place a magical flair.

It is also a city of churches and cloisters, we counted at least 5 or 6 monasteries, all lived in and religious live is observed in a sweet and humble way. Many times have we stepped into a small chapel or larger church to discover an organist practicing, or a lovely solemn atmosphare, cool and spiritual.

Smallest chapels are lovingly decorated and fresh flowers and devotional candles burn under many altars.

The lovely terra cotta works of Andrea della Robbia can be found and works by many painters, today unknown.

We ended this glorious day at the terasse of a small hotel, having dinner just to ourselves, the lovely cusine of Tuscany and an incredible view down towards Umbria before us. Ahhhh.....

We returned home, filled with delicious impressions, memories and a glorious day just for the two of us...

This journey in Italy is coming to an end, come Saturday we will pack our bags and leave back to Germany, where the children and I'll stay with the older sons and a good friend in Berlin for a couple of days before returning home. My husband will be back in New York by Sunday night.
I can not put my emotions into words...


All pictures taken by us...apart from the lovely work by Andrea della Robbia.(google image)


  1. Truly a magical vacation!!I hope you have a wonderful rest of your time with family. Pictures are amazing.

  2. It seems like you can write a book about your trips. Your talent for details made me feel as if I was there. Beautiful post!

  3. elles sont magnifiques ces photos.....

  4. I now feel the need to go on a trip like this one day!
    Oh how enthralling it all looks.


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