Today I’ll continue our trip through tuscan countryside: Val di Chiana is the name used to denominate the country around Cortona and Arezzo. The valley gives name to a type of beef meat, the “chianina”, a local product tipically served everywhere”al sangue” (rare) with vegetables. To reach Val di Chiana from Val D’Orcia, there are about 20-25 km from Montepulciano to Cortona: Cortona it’s a medieval village developed on several levels, with beautiful churches and monasteries.
The main square in Cortona is Piazza della Repubblica, placed on a higher level than the contiguous streets, which bring down to the town’s medieval doors.
Cortona has just a special charme, with all these ancient sideways that you can glimpse strolling in the main street. To be lost in these tiny streets is just the best way to visit and appreciate the town.
Close to the town doors, in few alleys, you can admire also some ancient medieval houses: with a little imagination, you’ll go backwards over the centuries.
After that, following the main road by car, you’ll soon reach Arezzo (half-hour); Arezzo too is placed on several levels, and the most interesting part of the city is on the peak of the hill: so, you’ll start your “promenade” at the “feet” of the town, climbing littlle by little the ancient alleys till you’ll reach the main square (Piazza Grande, or Piazza Vasari) and the Duomo.
Curiously, the main square is similar to Piazza del Campo in Siena: it has the same incline, and the main buildings (a church, Pieve di Santa Maria, and the CourtHouse) are surrounded by characteristic multi-level houses. Just on the right side of the church, you can admire the “Logge del Vasari”, a long colonnade that ran along the square.
The Duomo, dedicated to San Donato, in its back is surrounded by beautiful gardens, and the gothic inside is perfectly preserved. In the church, Pope Gregorio X’s relics are on display, and you can admire the fresco paintings of Piero della Francesca and beautiful stained-glass windows of Guillaume de Marcillat.