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There is probably no region in all of Italy as well known to American travelers as Toscana. The Renaissance Jewel Box City of Florence probably drives most of this as many travelers recall the school days of Art History 101, and Florence really delivers the goods with the Uffizi Museum, Palazzo Pitti and Michelangelo’s David. Just south of the city lay some of the most famous vineyards in the world, the Zona del Chianti Classico and, aside from the beautiful Tuscan countryside and the great wine-tasting opportunities, there exist many great dining options.


The food of Toscana is often deceptively simple. As in most of rural Italy, the sign of a great place is the presence of the local workers, especially at lunch.


The town of Cortona is perched on a hill in the center of the Tuscan province of Arezzo, near the border of the province of Siena and Umbria. Because of its location, Cortona can be seen from kilometers way from the windy roads of Tuscany. Cortona boasts old Umbrian and Etruscan origins. Founded by the Etruscans between the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, the Romans conquered the town in the 5th century and took the name Corito. The Greeks called Cortona, “The Metropolis of the Tyrrhenians,” that is, the non-Greek peoples. The city failed to become a free municipality until the 13th century. Though closer in proximity to Siena, the culture of Cortona was highly influenced by that of Florence, particularly during the Renaissance. To this day, the city of Cortona is surrounded by a city wall that dates to the time of Etruscan rule. Its picturesque charm lends its beauty to the 2003 romantic comedy Under the Tuscan Sun.

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