Cortona: a recreational itinerary

Between late April and late May Cortona comes alive with a score of events and festivals: the Fiera del Rame Antico e Lavorato (Antique and hand-wrought Copper Exhibit), in the multicoloured setting provided by a flower-and-plant-strewn Piazza Signorelli.

Film ambientato a Cortona

The month of May is dedicated to the medieval historic re-enactment of Francesco Casali’s, lord of Cortona and Antonia Salimbeni’s of Siena wedding. The medieval costume events, recitals and 14th century-style chants and dances reach their climax on the last Sunday of May when the five town Rioni compete in the crossbow contest known as the “Giostra dell’Archidado”.

Every year, between late August and early September, Palazzo Vagnotti, the former Episcopal residence, dating back to the 18th century, houses the Mostra Mercato Nazionale del Mobile Antico (National Antique Fair), an event that always drew many visitors to town and instrumental in highlighting Cortona’s cultural, artistic and natural features.
Throughout the summer, thanks to Accademia degli Arditi, the organization running the local theatre and the “Signorelli” movie-theatre, you can enjoy evening movie features in the wonderful and charming setting of the “Parterre” park (also original language movies); in the wintertime the same Accademia, in association with the Cortona municipality, present a first-rate theatre season featuring some of the most prominent national and international theatre companies.

Theatre shows (such as the charming open-air opera in the Piazza Signorelli) as well as classical and chamber music concerts will liven up your nights and days in Cortona.
Not to be missed, of course, are, all throughout the year, a host of gastronomic festivals, town-fairs and commemorations of the past rural, bucolic, sometimes melodramatic but more often cheerful past country-life without which certain tastes, fragrances, trades and traditions would be irreparably lost ( “Calici sotto le Stelle”, the Chianina-steak festival, the frog festival, goose festival, threshing festival, grapes festival, chestnuts festival, mushroom festival, escargot festival, “macaroni” noodle festival, Ciaccia fritta (a sort of fried flat bread) festival, and much more).

Life is Beautiful, Benigni Film

We also need to remember that Cortona and the surrounding territory have been in the past the location of several popular movies such as “Life is beautiful” by Roberto Benigni and “Under the Tuscan Sun”, based on the namesake best seller by Frances Mayes. Weekly open-air markets ( Thursdays in Camucia and Saturdays in Cortona) provide some interesting choreographic scenery and are well worth visiting. Many popular Italian and international writers, journalists, diplomats, politicians, movie-directors, singers and illustrious and prominent figures of the cultural and artistic world and show-biz chose Cortona as their residence, a clear sign of how well-known and valued this sunny corner of Tuscany is around the world.


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