Under The Tuscan Sun: 2 Days in beautiful Cortona, Italy

Did I really do my laundry in a 15th century palace? Did I sit in my underwear in front of a large window? These questions might be answered as you read this blog post 🙂 Or you can just look through the photos. Either way, thanks for being here!

I remember many years ago watching “Under The Tuscan Sun” (a lovely movie starring Diane Lane) and hoping (really hoping) to someday visit this beautiful region.  My dream became a reality this summer when Nick (my hubby) and I spent 12 magical days exploring Tuscany. Two of these days we spent in Cortona, the picturesque hilltown in which the movie takes place.

We stayed at Hotel San Michele, a gorgeous 15th century palace (and National Monument)
We ate amazing food: our faves were Al Pozzo Antico and La Bucaccia
We walked (and walked and walked) and explored


One of the best things about our visit to Cortona was staying at Hotel San Michele, the spectacular 15th century palace (known as Baldelli Palace), located in the very center of town.  Designated a National Monument, the hotel frequently hosts docents who bring groups on walking tours, like at a museum. It was very special staying there.

Like other rooms at San Michele, ours (#214) was furnished with fabulous antique furniture but, in addition to this opulence, there was a large private balcony/terrace with the most spectacular view of Cortona and the valley below. Everything at San Michele was amazing, breakfast was included and parking was free (and just a short walk away, by the city walls). If you ever go to Cortona – please promise me you’ll stay in San Michele! It’s magical!

Click on the first photo and then click next. I put a few captions here and there.
You might notice a photo with our laundry floating in the bathtub. One of the tricks of traveling light is packing easily-washable clothes. On all my trips I take a small container of all-natural unscented detergent and wash socks/undies in the sink. Economical and rather easy! Since at San Michele we had a full terrace complete with chaise longues, we were able to even wash jeans, which then dried very quickly under that summer Tuscan sun 🙂 We laughed at the absurdity of hand-washing our laundry at this palace.

One morning we spent 2 hours in La Torretta, an old tower within Hotel San Michele which features a large Jacuzzi with a view. We soaked in this lovely hot tub, sipped wine and looked at the red roofs of the town below us.  It was one of the nicest and most relaxing things ever, a welcome respite from our non-stop traveling/sightseeing. And yes, I’m in my underwear in the photo below:)


We ate at a 4 places in Cortona, but two restaurants stood out well above the rest.

La Bucaccia:  lovely restaurant quartered in the Renaissance cellars of former Palazzo Cattani.  Everything was fresh and delicious.
At one point a large group of locals next to us spontaneously burst into a song (they sounded great, btw!). It was one of those cool moments and felt like we were in a movie. Afterwards, we met the owner Romano and talked to him for a minute. Wish we’d taken a photo together, he was quite a character (in a good way!). Here are a few pics including the singing folks:

Locanda Al Pozzo Antico
(“Inn at the Ancient Well”).
Owned and run by a lovely family (Paola and Franco Barboni), this restaurant (and the Inn) is housed in a building from 1400s. Everything we ate was absolutely delicious (including house-made pasta made by hand). It’s one of these places where everything is done with love and care. We sat in the outdoor covered patio right next to the ancient well (after which the place is named). There were mostly locals there (everyone was speaking Italian around us, which was great!). We loved it all, and got to meet the owners (Paola and Franco, who were both working and running non-stop).

Take a look at photos of our multi-course dinner extravaganza and my captions. Click on the first and then click the “next” arrow.


Dating back to many centuries BCE, Cortona has a rich history and plenty of architectural beauties, from Etruscan ruins to spectacular medieval churches to renaissance buildings.  Here are a few shots from around town. I’ll be honest: most of the time time I had no idea what I was photographing. Nick & I just walked and enjoyed this historic town, absorbed its sights, sounds and vibes and felt we got to know it well. But I didn’t want to spend the whole time Googling (of course, once in a while we did look up a few things).

I captioned the few photos of places I knew. Click on the first one and then click next.

That’s all for now! Have you ever been to Cortona? What did I miss?
I loved this town and hope to return.
P.S. Do you ever hand-wash laundry while traveling? 🙂


  1. Beautiful place. Hope I can visit there sometime in the years ahead. Really enjoy following your travel blog. Sure beats watching the news. I log into your travel blogs and suddenly I hear Norah Jones singing “Come Away With Me”. Oh and that underwear modeling career? Imagine.

    And no to hand washing clothes. But you make it sound fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thanks so much, Barry!! But no underwear modeling for me 🙂 🙂
      and.. handwashing clothes is definitely cheaper than using a hotel’s laundry service (sometimes hotels charge like $4 for 1 pair of socks)


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