Stage 33 – Castiglion Fiorentino – Cortona – A short stage without particular difficulties but suggestive for the environment crossed, with its stupendous colours, the villas, the history of two Tuscan cities that have little to envy to other more famous ones, for which we have plenty of time to carefully visit Castiglion Fiorentino first and then Cortona.
Leaving the Logge Vasariane, you pass in front of the church of S. Michele, an octagonal temple built on the basis of a design by Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and completed in the early seventeenth century. You leave Castiglion Fiorentino, cross two small streams and find yourself in Bigurro, an area of floral greenhouses. We arrive in the square in Montecchio, at the foot of the beautiful castle, former residence of the English knight of fortune John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto). Now the track becomes bumpy; go up to Contrada S. Silvestro, then go down to Villa Schiatti. After Contrade Fonte del Mazza, pass the crossroads for Il Borgo. Immediately after there is the indication for “Etruscan tomb” in the locality of San Pietro a Cegliolo. Avoid the SS 71, pass the locality of Tavernelle and the indication for locality Cegliolo. You cross another stream, walk along a ditch. (from this point cyclists take the Strada del Sodo for 2 km). The locality of Sodo is at the gates of Cortona. We visit the Etruscan excavations, immediately beyond the SS 71 in the locality of Il Molino. It is worth it for their spectacularity and historical-religious value. Then, having passed yet another stream, we head towards the SS 71 which we cross. After a while you find yourself in front of what, in addition to a tomb, was certainly an altar for Etruscan religious rites: the main and most spectacular artefact of the Sodo Archaeological Park. To enter Cortona you go back, cross the stream again, then the SS 71. You start climbing the hill where Cortona stands: an ancient path, once a road with still parts in stone. After a while you find yourself in front of Porta Santa Maria and enter Cortona
33 – Points of Interest
Cortona – Ancient Etruscan city and main cultural and tourist center of the Val di Chiana Aretina, on the border between Tuscany and Umbria, it is located on a hill about 600 meters above sea level. As it was for the Etruscans, Cortona is still located in a strategic position that allows, with short trips, to reach important artistic and cultural centers. In ancient times it was connected to Rome by water and this advantage determined its fortunes. In fact, between the 8th and the 7th century B.C., Cortona became an important Etruscan “lucumonia”. It was the Etruscans who built the imposing walls that surround the city for about three kilometres in the 4th century B.C. as well as the noble tumulus tombs, called “meloni”. One of these tombs, that of Sodo, has a monumental funerary altar adorned with sphinxes, a unique example in Italy. Monuments and places of interest: Etruscan walls, Melone I and II del Sodo, Tumulo di Camucia, Villa di Ossaia, Strada Romana del Torrione, Cathedral of Cortona, Church of San Francesco, Convent of the Celle on MAEC (Museum of the Etruscan Academy and the City of Cortona).