The gorgeous Fra Angelico Annunciation altarpiece in Cortona

For me, a trip to Cortona is a pleasure. It’s a charming little walled town sitting on the top of a hill in Tuscany. It is interesting architecturally, has some nice restaurants and interesting shops.

But a trip to Cortona is a must for any art lover. One of the most beautiful altarpieces by Fra Angelico resides in the fine, small Diocesan Museum in Cortona. Here it is:

Cortona! Still under the gorgeous Tuscan sun.

I visited Cortona for the first time today and it is a charming Tuscan village set high, and encircled with old walls, upon the top of a hill.

The bus from the train station at Camucia brings you right into Piazza Garibaldi, from which there are breathtaking views of the Val di Chiana and an amazing view of the distant Lago Trasimeno which is actually in the neighboring province of Perugia, in the Umbria region of Italy which borders Tuscany. The lake is south of the river Po and north of the nearby river Tiber, has a surface area of 128 km and is the fourth for surface area in Italy.

Marble memorials enshrined on walls of buildings remind you immediately that you are in Italy.

A few meters into the center of the old city led me to the funerary announcements that I’ve seen in Siena and Pisa, among other places.

Below I spotted one of the most charming letter boxes I’ve ever seen! How cute is this?

Looking down towards Camucia from Piazza Garibaldi, the huge local cemetery complex dominates the view:

I spent some time in the famous museum of Etruscan civilization. It’s a fine museum, with many treasures. But the the Diocesan Museum, located on the former site of the local Church of Gesù, won my heart for it houses this masterpiece by Far Angelico:

I will talk about this painting of the Annunciation in another upcoming post, because it was just that beautiful. The Diocesan Museum has other fine works as well, including important paintings by Pietro Lorenzetti, Bartolomeo della Gatta, Luca Signorelli and Sassetta. Signorelli was born in Cortona and has, as you might expect, a big presence there. I don’t have other pictures to show you, because I’m not a big fan of Signorelli.

You never know

If there is one thing I have learned from my 6+ years of living in Italy, it’s that you never, ever, ever know where you will find useful information. It is often not in the logical location.

I’ve walked through the Piazza di San Firenze a million times and marveled at the Baroque church that dominates the square. I’ve never found any good information about it’s construction at a moment’s notice.

An American friend is very interested in the Franco Zeffirelli Foundation and its headquarters, which are located in this building and I’ve been reading about the foundation. And I stumbled across this fascinating info on the Baroque church.