The magnificent hilltop town of Cortona has abundantly been described in the pages of this blog, together with its food and wine trails, and various cultural festivals: the Cortona Mix Festival and the now abducted Tuscan Sun Festival. Not for nothing then Cortona is considered one of the most favourite tourist attractions in Tuscany. Every corner conceals a treasure trove.
Approaching Cortona from any road, valley or hill, one’s eye is immediately captured by the vast dome of the Cathedral standing out against the skyline. It is Santa Maria Nuova, from 1507 to 1986 seat of the Bishops of Cortona and today a co-Cathedral in the present Diocese of Arezzo-Cortona-Sansepolcro. Built in the first half of the 16th century, initially by Cristofanello and finished by Giorgio Vasari who lived in this area between 1543-1550, the church is an example of Renaissance Greek cross plan and is surmounted by a main cupola which was only finished during the 17th century.
Right beside the Cathedral, immersed in a luxuriant green landscape, is an olive grove estate with two villas for rent, each with its own swimming pool. A third building, dating back to the 17th century and thought to have been built as an adjoining accommodation for the Church of Santa Maria Nuova, houses on the ground floor a common area with traditional Tuscan wood-burning oven and, on the first floor, the owners’ home. Sitting on the typically terraced lands of a hilly countryside, the villas are within walking distance of the historical centre of Cortona, yet enjoy a peaceful and secluded tranquillity.
Recently restored, the villas benefit from modern comforts plus an incredible bonus with each bedroom having its own private bathroom fitted with pamper and wellness treatments, such as hot tubs, Jacuzzi showers, Turkish baths, chromotherapy showers and comfort kits with olive oil soaps and aromatherapy essences. After one can continue to relax on the deckchairs around the swimming pools, enjoying the breathtaking view overlooking the valley. Furthermore, to tickle your taste buds the estate offers a personal chef service who will introduce guests to the delights of local dishes, reinterpreted with modern preparation techniques and cooking methods, as well as cooking classes to learn the secrets of traditional Tuscan and Italian recipes.