AOS Travel Guide: Cortona, Italy
It's finally here! I have been putting off creating a Cortona travel guide based on our September adventures for far too long. This rustic Tuscan village far exceeded my expectations and managed to completely steal my heart. Not that I didn't think it would be great (everything in Italy is great IMO), but I failed to realize how charming it could actually be. By the end of our trip, I was doing my best to convince my husband, Bobby, that we needed to move here - ha! Probably not going to happen, but you never know, right?
S T A Y.
This Airbnb. - Airbnb allows you to experience a destination like a local. Instead of staying in a hotel like the average traveler, you get live in a home and envision what life would be like in your destination. This apartment is located on the top floor of a historic Tuscan mansion. Its traditional flooring and and exposed beams are just the cherries on top of the cake; the view is what really makes this spot so desirable. We were awestruck when we awoke on the first morning of our stay to see Cortona and the surrounding Tuscan hills engulfed in a ethereal mist: a sight you truly must see for yourself. **A picture could never do it justice, but my best shot is directly below:
E A T - D R I N K - DO.
I typically create separate categories for eating/drinking/doing, but let's be honest, you can't do anything in Italy without eating and drinking. Well, you could...but who would want to?
Piazza della Repubblica - The city center of Cortona, Piazza della Repubblica remained teeming with life for the majority of the duration of stay. It's the only place you're going to experience any sort of hustle and bustle in this otherwise sleepy hillside town. After settling into our apartment, we walked down to the piazza. We proceeded to wander through a handful of shops, all full of artisan-made goods, and pick up some groceries for breakfast at our place in the morning. It was a beautiful day; the warm sun was beaming down on my face and there was a slight breeze making its way through the narrow streets and into the piazza. We strolled down the delightful little roads until we were greeted by a vivacious woman standing outside a cave-like tasting room...
Bottega Dell'eretico - Gabriella Romeo was inviting and interesting. She started us off with various Vino Nobile di Montepulciano wines. This red wine is produced in the vineyards surrounding Montepulciano and is comprised mostly of the Sangiovese grape varietal and blended with Canaiolo Nero and Mammolo. It is smooth, easy to drink and my absolute favorite red wine to date. We ended with tastings of dessert wine, limoncello and olive oil - all delicious. This ended up being my favorite activity of the Cortona trip, partly because I love unplanned experiences and partly because the wine was SO good.
A Day of Vineyards & Tuscan Villages - On our second day in Cortona, we had a tour guide take us to two vineyards: Boscarelli and Salcheto. The two wineries were complete opposites - Boscarelli is a small, family-owned winery that sticks to the traditional way of doing things, while Salcheto is very high-tech and eco-friendly. Great wine was the commonality between the two and we thoroughly enjoyed both tours. After the tastings, we had a four-course lunch in Montepulciano and walked through the historic village before heading back to Cortona.
La Buccacia - This was my favorite dinner of our entire trip (Florence-Cortona-Positano-Paris). We were greeted by the animated owner as soon as we walked through the door. It would have been a good idea to have reservations, but he gave us a bottle of wine and fresh, homemade bread as we waited. The food was amazing; we had course after course of delicious meats, breads and pastas. But what really made the experience was the owner. He ordered surprise dishes for us and let us taste numerous wines. We met a few locals and had the best evening drinking and laughing the night away.