I have wanted to visit the beautiful town of Cortona ever since I watched Under the Tuscan Sun, a film based on the memoirs of American author Frances Mayes, who bought and restored an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. I was completely mesmerised by the beauty and rolling hills of Tuscany and Cortona looked absolutely stunning.
Luckily for me, the campsite we had booked for our summer holiday this year, Norcenni Girasole Club, was just over an hours drive away from Cortona, so with excitement growing, I was at last going to discover the delights of this picturesque town and walk in the footsteps of Diane Lane and crew.
As we approached Cortona, the view was amazing. Perched high on the hill tops, the beautiful Tuscan buildings stood proud and I could feel my excitement building. I love hill top Italian towns and villages and Cortona exceeded all of my expectations.
We found a car parking space fairly easily (sometimes this can prove to be somewhat difficult, especially in high season) and made our way, up a flight of outdoor escalators, to the main street. I was not disappointed. Cortona was absolutely beautiful and we enjoyed meandering through the ancient winding streets, stopping to check out the local bijous shops and boutiques.
The main square, Piazza della Repubblica, is located in the centre of the historic town and is a hive of activity. Cafés and restaurants surround the square, as well as an impressive town hall and it is a perfect place to watch the world go by. We stopped for a gelato and a cappuccino (well, it is Italy after all) and enjoyed soaking up all the Italian atmosphere. There was even a musician playing bella music, making the whole ambience just perfect.
For me, one of the main attractions of Cortona, apart from all the stunning architecture, was to try and find the house used in the film Under the Tuscan Sun. After driving around for a while (not too long, honest, my hubby has the patience of a saint) we eventually found it, hooray! The house is actually called Villa Laura and was used as the house, Bramasole, the villa that Diane Lane’s character, Frances, buys and restores. Since the making and success of the film, Villa Laura has been extensively renovated and is now available to rent. As the grounds of Villa Laura are quite large and are surrounded by a wall, only the driveway and back of the villa, with its famous balcony, are visible from the road, but that was good enough for me, I’d finally found the house.
All too soon, it was time to say goodbye and leave Cortona basking under the Tuscan sun. It was a stunning and picturesque place, which fulfilled many of my dreams and proved to be everything I hoped it would be and more. I’m already planning my return trip.
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