» Outdoor Markets and Antique Fairs
Although these activities may not end up being free, they start that way and with a
little (actually a lot) of willpower you could just look.
| Saturday mornings
|| Cortona and Assisi
| Monday mornings
|| Chiusi and Gubbio
| Tuesday mornings
|| Arezzo, Terontola, Sinalunga and Mercatale
| Wednesday mornings
|| Castiglion del Lago, Siena, Spoleto and Umbertide
| Thursday mornings
|| Camucia, Citta' di Castello, Deruta, Lucignano and Montepulciano
| Friday mornings
|| Acquaviva, Castglion Fiorentino, Tuoro and Pienza
| 1st weekend of every month
|| Arezzo at Piazza Grande
| 3rd weekend of every month
|| Lucca at Piazza San Martino
| 3rd Sunday of every month
|| Siena at Piazza Mercato
| Last Sunday of each month
|| Florence at Piazza dei Ciompi
| Every Sunday
|| Rome at Porta Portese in Trastevere
| Last two weeks in August and 1st few days of September at
|| Cortona at Casali Palace & Vagnotti Palace
The "National Market of Ancient Furniture"
» Piazza Garibaldi
Walk to the wall in Piazza Garibaldi, look up and to the left at lake Trasimeno and think
about the fact that the lake dominated most of the Chiana valley in front of you until the
Etruscans and later the Romans engineered ways to drain the lake from the shallow areas into
its current size and shape. Also from the wall in Piazza Garibaldi, if it's a very clear day,
look at the tallest peak of the mountain range across the valley. Down and to the right,
notice a cluster of buildings on the face of the smaller mountains in the foreground. This is
the famous hill-town, Montepulciano.
» A walk in the park
There are four roads that connect at Piazza Garibaldi. With your back to the valley, facing
the buildings, take the level road to your right between the road that goes down and out of
town and the one that goes up in front of the bank. Walk past the church on your left and into
the entrance of the park where you will see a fountain in the center with two bronze
dolphin-like creatures. To the left of the fountain you will see a large amphitheater with
stone steps and seating where you can watch a film under the stars on a worm summer evening or
see lovers discuss their future on a sunny day. Best of all, just sit and reflect on the
moment. This is also a great spot to relax or read on one of the park benches surrounding the
fountain or just watch the locals walk by. Beyond the formal fountain area, you will come to a
gathering place where children and their parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents
gather to look or play with the children. I can't help wondering what the oldest family
members are thinking when they watch and shout advice to the children, grand children and
great grand children between conversations with their friends on the bench. So many times you
see the youngest and oldest family members communicating without words, often with their
smiling faces as little as an inch apart and with birthdays as much as a century apart. As you
continue on there is a straight level (unusual in Cortona) tree-lined gravel road that has
many interesting wild flowers, places to sit and spectacular views of the valley below. This
path will end at the tennis courts where the road is paved (with only a very occasional car on
it) and winds around to the right, eventually ending at the little village of Torioni.
» Le Celle
Drive or walk to Le Celle (the cell) from Cortona. This is a 'must see' and just about anyone
can give you directions. Le Celle is a stunning example of a Franciscan convent set 3-1/2 km
from Cortona on the slopes of Monte S. Egidio, over the Vignone Torrent. Saint Francis had it
built in the early 1200's and today you can still see the cell where the Saint stayed. A lot
of people come to pay tribute to St Francis' cell: a narrow quadrangular room, 1.80 x 2.50 m.
and only 1.90 m. high. The Saint's bed is still preserved inside, as well as an old sand-glass
and a copy of a painting of the Madonna and Child in front of which St. Francis used to pray.
Through a small window in the wall facing the Torrent one can see the place Beato Guidoâ€™s
cell, later destroyed by a flood, was built.
» Sit on the steps
In the main piazza, Piazza Ripublica, you can't miss sitting on the steps to the comune (town
council) building with it's big clock tower. Locals, students, tourists, pigeons, and cats
alike, all sit on the steps seemingly with the same purpose in mind, to see and be seen.
Hundreds of years of foot scuffing and butt rubbing have worn the pietra steps into definite
comfort zones for sitting, waiting, watching and being watched. See you at the steps...
» Picnic in the Chestnut Grove or the Olive Grove
Just a five to ten minute walk from the house, the chestnut grove is a very peaceful and
beautiful place to have a picnic or just hang around.
» Roast some chestnuts
Another reason to walk up to the Chestnut grove is to gather chestnuts for roasting. Just slit
the outer shell so they don't blow up and roast them in the oven, fireplace or pizza oven. We
have even made pasta sauce with chestnuts by dicing and sautÃ©ing them in garlic and olive
» Hike to a view of the lake
In less than 30 minutes you can hike from the house to the top of the property at Il Rifugio
and then through our neighbor's property to a spot in Umbria where you can look down at a
beautiful view of Lake Trasimeno. There is a map with directions at the house.