We first visited Cortona in 2017 whilst on a four-month tour of Spain, France and Italy in our motorhome. My sister had recently bought an apartment in Cortona after she had completely fallen in love with it and couldn’t wait to share it with us. Those first 5 days of our visit left a lasting impression and we knew we had to return. After four further visits and 5 years later, we’ve finally found our own special place. We returned to Cortona at the end of January to exchange contracts and thought we’d share the experience with you.
Day 1 (Thursday)
We were so excited, but also quite nervous as there had been reports of snow locally. We were flying from London Heathrow to Pisa and were due to hire a car and drive to Cortona. The last thing we wanted to do was slide off the road before we reached our newly adopted town! Thankfully, the weather was absolutely fine and we arrived safely at my sister’s house within the old walls of the town. We strolled down to Piazza Garibaldi and took in our first view across the Valdichiana. As always, it was stunning and took our breath away. Every time is like the first time and we never tire of it. Aware that tomorrow would be a busy day, we bought some groceries from Molesini supermarket, cooked dinner and settled down with a bottle of wine for the evening.
Day 2 (Friday)
Today was the day! After three months of nervous anticipation, we finally signed the papers and the little Cortona apartment is now ours. We’ve been working closely with Roberto and Alison from Cortona International, who we have to say have been fantastic. They have supported us every step of the way and helped us navigate the sometimes confusing Italian purchasing process. We really would have been lost without them! We have never signed so many pieces of paper in one afternoon, but really the process was very smooth. Once the last ‘i’ was dotted, we were ready to celebrate, but as only a few of the Cortona bars and restaurants were open (well it is January!), we opted for dinner at Il Cacciatore via Roma. We’d not visited this restaurant before, but we had a lovely meal, finished with Cantucci and Vin Santo.
Cantucci and Vin Santo at at Il Cacciatore
Day 3 (Saturday)
What’s the first thing you buy when purchasing a new home? Well, for us, it was a mattress. But where do you go to buy a mattress when you don’t really know the surrounding area and you speak very little Italian? Luckily, we’d been recommended a shop in Camucia called Dormire Sano Di Bassini owned by Christiano. He was able to arrange for a new mattress to be delivered on Tuesday, so it will only be a couple of days before we can spend our first night in our little apartment.
Day 4 (Sunday)
The next thing on our list was to buy some essentials; crockery, glasses and cutlery. After hearing that the best place to purchase some basics to get us started would be Marino Fa Mercato in Magione, we decided to set off … and wow, that place has everything you could possibly need! We managed to restrain ourselves from filling up the car with lots of ‘stuff’ and we just bought a few items that would do until we had more time to explore what other shops could offer.
Day 5 (Monday)
After a quick visit to Caffe degli Artisti for a light breakfast, we took a stroll down to Piazza Garibaldi and wandered across Viale Giardini Pubblici.
The fountain at the beginning of Viale Giardini Pubblici
Later that day, we found ourselves at Basilica di Santa Margherita. It’s not a walk for the faint-hearted and is well suited to mountain goats, but it was well worth it. We arrived just as the sun was setting and once again, the views were stunning.
Basilica di Santa Margherita
A view of the sunset from Basilica di Santa Margherita
Day 6 (Tuesday)
Our new mattress was delivered this morning and we could finally move into our new apartment. After having the most amazing salad at Bar Caffe La Saletta via Nazionale, we strolled around the streets of Cortona. It’s strange how you look at a town in a different way when you own a property rather than wandering around as a visitor. There are so many bars, cafes, restaurants and shops in Cortona we have yet to discover.
Finally, we can sleep in our Cortona apartment
Day 7 (Wednesday)
It was a lazy start to the day and it was amazing to wake up in our own place. We enjoyed our first coffee on the balcony and thought about how fantastic it will be to do this when the weather warms up.
Late morning, we met Alison for a coffee at Tuscher’s and discussed how her company could help with the ongoing management of the apartment whilst we’re back in the UK. She has taken away any concerns we had and we’re very grateful that this service exists. After meeting with Roberto to sign yet more paperwork (moving the utilities across to our name), we returned to Il Cacciatore for a final meal before packing our suitcases ready for our return home tomorrow.
… and finally …
We’re back in the UK! We had a fantastic week, made so much less stressful by the care and attention provided to us by the team at Cortona International. We have already booked our flight back to Italy for a week at the end of March and plan to return again mid-April for a couple of months to fully immerse ourselves in the lovely world of Cortona.
So what have we learnt? Looking at Real Estate Agent windows in Cortona is a dangerous pastime!! But, we are so glad to have established roots in this lovely town. We look forward to many happy return visits, and if you see us around, please say hello.
Sue and Richard Carey