People to Know in Cortona (August 2019)

This article originally appeared in the August 2019 issue of Dream of Italy.

Cortona is an ancient Tuscan town, steeped in Etruscan history. Built into a hillside, it commands a breathtaking view of the Val di Chiana below.

Cortona’s history dates back at least 3,000 years, but it was most recently made famous by Frances Mayes’ book and movie, Under the Tuscan Sun. Those works introduced the city to new generations, who now travel from around the world to experience Cortona firsthand. Dream of Italy founder and host Kathy McCabe traveled to Cortona to meet Frances and her husband Ed for the new Dream of Italy: Tuscan Sun Special now airing on PBS stations across the United States.

Cortona has “an intense sense of community,” Frances tells Kathy in the show. She encourages newcomers to learn the town by exploring it – by hiking the Roman trails on the hillside, visiting the market every Saturday in Piazza Signorelli or having aperitivo in Piazza della Repubblica. “Inevitably,” she says, “you meet people.”

Here is a walk through Cortona, through the eyes of six locals whose passion for their town in infectious.