The Palazzo dei Consoli towers over the tiled roofs of Gubbio
Where We Be
Cortona & Gubbio, Italy
A few towns we only saw from a distance -- like the uber-quaint Umbrian hill town
of Monterchi. It's located on a back road between Cortona and Citta di Castello.
Cortona sits on the border between Tuscany and Umbria and commands a superb view
of the surrounding countryside. The lake in the distance is Lago Trasimeno in Umbria.
The superb patio at Casa Kita, our home for three wonderful days
More of this please!
The surrounding countryside is a delight, replete with
churches, patchwork farmland, and cypress trees
The moon rises behind a stone building with partially crumbled tower near the top of Cortona
Spring blooms in a quiet Cortona neighborhood
This jumble of stone buildings
and tiled roofs is "so Cortona"
Here's to La Dolce Vita!
The fortress-like Palazzo dei Consoli rises up starkly from the Piazza Grande
From the top you get panoramic views of the Umbrian countryside
Gubbio is incredibly steep in places. If you want to get your
exercise after that big Italian dinner, here's a place to do it!
We researched quaint Italian towns ahead of time --
so we knew in advance we wanted to see Lucignano
Isolated tower with surrounding trees
on a hill just across from Lucignano
We spent an hour exploring Lucignano on the way to Cortona
Citta di Castello
Monterchi & Castiglion Fiorentino
We caught sight of the dramatic hilltop city of Castiglion Fiorentino as we
descended a steep road to Cortona. It's maybe 10 miles away from Cortona.
On our way back from Gubbio we stopped in Citta di Castello
to see the clock tower and other buildings on the main square
We also stopped for coffee at Caffe Cavour. This exquisite looking drink,
with frothy foam and a chocolate starburst pattern, cost less than a Starbucks.
This curving street has most of Lucignano's shops and restaurants
We took this funky "stand-up chairlift"
to a basilica at the top of a steep hill
This picturesque Roman amphitheater sits near the edge of town
Lovely Renaissance courtyard inside the Palazzo Ducale
Enjoying a Supertuscan on a warm spring day
Our ToscaBali Room mixed art from Tuscany and Bali
Clock tower on Cortona's main piazza
Fresh spinach ravioli in a porcini mushroom sauce
Bell tower with two-toned bells
We spent most of our time in Cortona living "La
Dolce Vita" -- drinking Supertuscan wines, eat-
ing fresh pecorino cheese on the patio, going
out to superb dinners, and soaking up the
spectacular views of the Tuscan countryside.
After all, that's what Cortona's all about.

But we did take one day trip to the austerely
beautiful hill town of Gubbio. You'll see photos
from there as well as a few other hill towns we
visited, including Lucignano, Citta di Castello,
Monterchi, and Castiglion Fiorentino.

During our last day in Cortona we climbed up to
the top of this steep town to Santa Margherita
Church. Inside its cool confines, we sat in the
back pew to catch our breath. Echoing through
the church came the sound of a single monk
chanting a Gregorian chant. The echoes of his
voice in the vaulted chamber made it magical.
As if to complete the magic, an old nun paced
slowly up the aisle towards us, head bowed,
silently reciting words in a prayer book as she
made her rounds through the church.
We're totally spoiled on great views at this point
Gubbio is sometimes called the Stone City
We keep coming back to Italy for towns like this one
Yet another picturesque hill town worth a visit