During our first stay in Cortona, not
really knowing much about it except what we had seen in the movie, Under the Tuscan Sun, we explored every
corner of the town on foot, visited nearby towns beyond the walls, and visited
properties for sale with the Cortona International team.
During our early morning walks inside the
walls, we took in the sights and heard the sounds of a community waking up each
day. We saw shopkeepers preparing to
open stores, restaurants getting deliveries of fresh food, and children with
backpacks headed to school.
While Cortona arose at a fast pace each
morning, the atmosphere was always orderly, peaceful and serene. We instantly felt comfortable, walking up and
down (mostly up) the cobblestone streets while nodding and smiling at
passersby. We could tell Cortona was not
just a place where visitors came and went each day. It was a place where people work hard while
enjoying a more simple life. Our love
affair was underway and the desire to become part of the community was becoming
Each evening when we returned to the newly
opened hotel il Monastero di Cortona
we were greeted by Carolina, Claudia,
Susanna and the rest of the staff. They
were always genuinely excited to learn about our day and especially our search
for a dream home. This became our
routine; coming “home” to the hotel and sharing our stories with our new
friends. They could see us falling in
love with the town and were excited that we might someday become Cortonese. In a very short time we saw our new friends at the hotel as extended family.
Room service breakfast at il Monastero
We visited a number of residential
properties in the valley before returning to the town to see properties inside
the walled enclave: we saw a number of wonderfully restored multi-family properties
in Cortona’s surrounding countryside which included large open spaces, a farm
style home, a community pool, and spectacular views of the valley. While we
initially envisioned ourselves in one of these traditional homes just a few
kilometers from the town, we missed the feeling we had when we were inside the
Over the next two days we marched up and
down streets, in and out of buildings, and up and down stairs seeing just about
everything the town had available. We
saw fixer uppers, apartments with spectacular views, and a three story palace with
a fresco-style painting of Moses on the wall.
At the end of the first day we visited Palazzo
Vecchio in Via Passerini, a restored apartment in a 15th century
building that was part of the old Cortona hospital.
By the end of the second day we knew it was
the right one for us. The combination of
old meeting new, modern amenities mixed with classic style, and outdoor space;
this is the one we kept coming back to in our minds. We loved the idea that we would be just steps
from the main square and we could imagine ourselves relaxing on the patio with
a bottle of wine, in front of the fireplace during the holidays, or learning to
prepare traditional meals in the gourmet kitchen.
Relaxing with a bottle of wine...
While finding the right apartment was at
the top of our list, getting to know the people of the town is really what
makes Cortona a second home. During one
of our afternoon strolls we wandered into the Molesini Wine Shop and introduced
ourselves to the gentleman behind the counter as future Cortonese. He introduced himself as Marco, and chatted
us up as we looked over the wine selection. Before we knew it, Marco was
showing us around the piazza, introducing
us to his brother Paolo and walking us though the local grocery store, run by
his parents. We loved the feeling of
intimacy where everyone knows everyone and family is at the center of life.
In one short visit we made new friends at
the Monastero di Cortona, began an on-going business relationship and friendship
with Cortona International, got to know the people at the wine shop by name,
made lasting connections with many shop owners, discovered our favorite
restaurants, and most of all found our new Tuscan home. When we think back about what it was that
made us fall in love with Cortona, it was the people.
The warmth, the outstretched arm of
hospitality, the kindness that you could tell was intrinsic to their way of
life. We are grateful to have found
Cortona and all the wonderful people who make up this community. We hope as time passes and we spend more time
in our new home, that we will become part of the fabric of this magical
place. It is everything we hoped to find
in our adopted country of Italy – from the moment we arrived we knew that
Cortona could be a place we could call home.
View from Cortona's Fortezza