Day 10: Cortona for One

With each "city" that I arrive at, I am constantly amazed at how cute each of them is in their own ways. By this point, I've been to Venice, Florence, Monterosso, Vernazza, Manarola, Siena, Montepulciano ... and a few train stations in between. Cortona was one that I was really excited for but not for any great reason. Perhaps in my mind it had been romanticized a bit by the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun" ...

Despite spending a few hours on the train yesterday pre Cortona, I managed to still walk 7+ miles which was helped by a long walk around the Fortezza in Siena before I left. The Fortezza is like Siena’s Charles River in my mind. This was my second morning in a row walking around there and you could see how this was part of some locals routines. I saw this adorbs older man with a yellow lab two days in a row on the same bench. The funny thing about the Fortezza is that is was built inside Siena by the Medici family after Siena lost the war with Florence (I think). Fred my tour guide from the day before tried to explain this us …

The Hotel 
I selected a hotel a bit last minute like normal and completely lucked out again. I don't have many hotels left to pick but I hope my good luck streak continues. Hotel Villa Marsilli is perched right on the edge of the city with views to die for. I am so glad that I asked them to send me a cab at the train station because for about 5 minutes I considered walking the 3 kilometers .... but when the train pulled up and I saw how high Cortona really was ... yikes. Well worth the 10 Euro.

My cab driver, Enzo in a grey fiat, pointed out sights along the way and could not have been nicer. I loved how he noted that this particular church was "modern" and had been built in the 18th century. Yep, that's modern for Italy.

The girl who runs the hotel Juliana could not be more bubbly and sweet. She also has amazing hair that would have Kerrianne rolling with jealousy. Seriously, I awkwardly talked about it to these other Americans I met last night.

Btw, my room here is about half the size of my freshman dorm room at BC and I’m sleeping in a twin-size bed.

The Sights 

I don't have too many pictures from yesterday - not because Cortona isn't photogenic but because it's more cute in an atmosphere way. Many of the sites on the tourist maps are churches or palazzos and better for people watching and not picture taking. I have learned that Sundays and Mondays are tougher days to visit these smaller towns - they just shut down a bit more. Yesterday for example, I was starving around 4pm and there was not a place to eat. It was nuts. So, I ordered some gelato. I’m on vacation so that makes sense.
But Cortona is seriously hilly ... it's like nature's stairmaster. When I see people walking around in high heels and put together outfits I am seriously confused, but then again they think I’m nuts for wearing leggings and a t-shirt. At one point someone actually asked me if I was on a biking tour… false.

The next time I come to Italy I will learn more of the language before I show up. I don’t feel as though I’m missing out on much in restaurants or travel knowledge, but I am missing out on understanding what the old people are saying to me. The only people that talk to me when I walk around are the old people and its amazing. It’s like I’m invisible to anyone but them. This well-dressed older woman with a cane was buying gelato in front of me and we ended up sitting near each other in a park while we ate. As I got up to throw my cone out, she motioned me over and started chatting with me. All I caught was “bellisimo” and “cordo” as she gently touched my arm. According to my translation app, cordo means warm.

I ended the day by bringing my laptop outside and sitting on the little terrace that overlooks the valley (do we call it that?) and the nearby lake. It was so relaxing to just sit and watch the sunset while I gchatted with some friends from home. I lost track of time sitting there talking with a few other Americans from Tennessee on their honeymoon and it was after 9 before I knew it.

Tomorrow? I had originally planned for two days in Cortona but things got switched up a bit. The cooking class I was planning to take “rejected me” because they only offer the class for two people. I’m sure I could have paid my way around that but it honestly lost a lot of the excitement for me at that point. I was really disappointed. SO, I’m going to Sorrento for 3 days and then to finish out the trip in Rome.


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