ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Europe

A Villa in Tuscany - Part 2 of a series - Cortona

Updated on November 15, 2012
Source

Prologue

This is a continuation of A Villa in Tuscany - a series - a trip that my husband Craig and I took along with two other couples in 2006. For a week, we shared a villa near the town of Buonconvento, and it was a truly enjoyable and beautiful experience. In Part 1 we took in our closest town of Buonconvento, a lunch in Montalcino and then back to the villa for an evening happy hour with our hosts.

Day two waking up in Casa Rasa

Today we are going to be visiting Cortona. I am kind of excited about this because this is the town that Frances Mayes talks about in her book "Under The Tuscan Sun", which I had read of course.

Cortona is a commune in the Province of Arezzo in Tuscany. It is an ancient town founded by the Etruscans and has many legends going back to the classical era attached to it. One such lengend has it that 800 years after the Flood, Noah while navigating the mouth of the Tiber River enters into the valley of the Chiana. Liking this place more than any other in Italy, because of its fertile land, he stops and lives here for thirty years. An offspring of his named Crano arrives at one of the hills, loving the altitude, the amenities and the air of tranquility proceeds to build the city of Cortona - two hundred and seventy three years after the Flood. In fact a Greek historian affirms this as the third city in Italy to be built after the Flood.

Once again, Cortona is yet another medieval town with steep narrow streets sitting 600 metres high on a hillside looking over the whole of the Valdichiana - an area extending about 100 km - consisting of hilly terrain and watershed. I have seen it written that nowhere in Tuscany can you find so much evidence of so many centuries of history in one small community. Indeed I recall reading in Frances Mayes book about how exciting it was for her to walk around the landscape and all of a sudden come across a hidden or overgrown Etruscan road from ages ago.

Old Etruscan Roads and trails
Old Etruscan Roads and trails | Source
Source

Walking Cortona

Driving up the winding road to Cortona we find a place to park, heading the rest of the way up the hill to the town itself on foot. Of course I have my camera at the ready, snapping one of the first scenes I see - the big yellow bush outside of a residence, with the ever present line of clothing drying outside of a black shuttered window. Wherever we look flowers seem to be growing out of rock face. We continue along our way checking out every nook and cranny, but then all of a sudden we are looking out over the landscape and see what looks to be a huge walled in community down below.

Closer scrutiny tells us that it is a cemetery, completely encompassed by walls and various buildings with what looks to be two main entrances. I have since found out that this was decreed by Napoleon to prevent diseases from spreading. What a sight it made, sitting there in the valley, surrounded by gently rolling hills, dotted here and there with ochre colored villas.

Walled in Cemetery below Cortona
Walled in Cemetery below Cortona | Source
The Grotto at Bramasole - where the older gentleman left flowers every day
The Grotto at Bramasole - where the older gentleman left flowers every day | Source

Bramasole

We spend a bit more time and then break for lunch. After that Joe decided that we should go for a drive, in tandem with our two cars and he is going to try to lead us to Bramasole - Frances Maye's villa. He and Sandy had taken it in on one of their tours and he thought he could find it again.

Not expecting too much we followed them along winding roads, but then all of a sudden he stopped and there and behold up a laneway we had just passed was Bramasole. We parked our cars and strolled up to the gateway to have a look and take some photos. Just as I was wondering how she felt about people like ourselves driving by and stopping, Joe commented that they had learned she did not live there anymore for that very reason. I am sure one could get very very tired of tour buses stopping and gawking at any hour of the day, so I was not at all surprised.

Bramasole
Bramasole | Source

Heading Back to Casa Rasa

We spend a bit more time roaming around the countryside before heading back to our Villa and happy hour. Before too long we are back in Buonconvento at the Co-op store picking up a few things once again that we need for that night. We are already in the mode of the "Italians", picking up fresh ingredients daily for that night's dinner. Last night we ate out but tonight Sandy and Joe are going to prepare dinner, with Louise and I doing appetizers.

Back at the villa we are all wandering around doing our own thing. Al looks comfy sitting out on the loggia reading a book, some of us are poking around in the kitchen putting groceries away, and finally some of us wander out to the chairs to sit with a cold glass of water and stare at the scenery, each lost in our own thoughts. We would end up doing this every day, late afternoon, at our villa. I look up and see Sandy perched at one of the arched openings in the loggia, water colours close by, and I know she is sketching the surrounding scene. We've nothing to hurry for, just to enjoy a peaceful moment before dinnertime.

Eventually Happy Hour is calling us back to the villa. In the kitchen Louise is busy making one appetizer while I am chopping tomatos for our Bruschetta. Sandy is happily sitting on a bar stool watching us with a glass of red wine in hand. Appetizers finally ready, the guys join us and we all make a toast to our second day in Tuscany.

An hour or so later it's Al, Louise, Craig's and my turn to sit and watch while Sandy and Joe get busy preparing a lovely roast chicken dinner, with roasted veggies and potatoes to boot. What a lovely scrumptious looking photo they make sitting side by side in their tray on the counter.

All Ready To Pop In The Oven

Source

A Perfect Way to End The Day

In no time it seems we are all seated at the dining table, eating this delicious repast, along with Louise's Caprese Salad while listening to tapes that the Swansons have brought with them from Oregon. Neil Diamond is playing and Sandy and Joe get up to enjoy a little dance around the dining room. While Craig and I love to dance; not so much Al - even though Louise would surely drag him up; none of us gets up - we simply watch and let them enjoy the moment. Sandy has come a long way to be here, Non Hodgekins Lymphoma and all, and they deserve this special time for themselves. It is the good life, and we want it to last forever!

Part 3 of the series next!

Please come back and check for part 3 in this series. Next we go to Siena Market where Craig and I are going to pick up some fresh Salmon for our turn at cooking dinner. Plus we four Canadians have a lovely experience at lunch back in Buonconvento. See ya!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • craiglyn profile image
      Author

      Lynda 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting whonu and for the vote of confidence once again. : )

    • whonunuwho profile image

      whonunuwho 5 years ago from United States

      Such a touching sampling of the comforts that a wonderful life has to offer, and well portrayed , my friend.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)