The one time Etruscan fortress of Cortona provides a wonderful and romantic setting for a magical
evening under the Tuscan moon. A stately city, sitting on a hill overlooking the Val di Chiana and
Lago Trasemeno, it offers its visitors breathtaking views, steep and narrow streets, pedestrian
passageways, a deep and rich history, warm and welcoming people, a collection of the finest shops
and wonderful trattorias and ristorantes.
Simonetta, Guido, Edie and I began our evening in Cortona arriving in the late afternoon at Porta
Colonia. As we approached the Porta, we could see the original Etruscan walls built to protect this
onetime Etruscan fortress and the “newer” walls built during the time of the Roman Empire. Our
evening started with a stroll down Via Dardano, a narrow street flanked with pasta shops, and
trattorias. Via Dardano lead us to “Piazza della Republica”, home to Cortona's majestic town hall.
The “Piazza della Republica” was alive with families, older folk and young people all enjoying the
tradition of the “passigiata” as well as the company of their fellow Cortonesi.
The “enotecas” and (caffe) bars were busy with activity and groups of people sharing the events of
their day. Shops were busy and I was drawn into the Maledetti Toscani Leather Shop which opens onto
the Piazza. The intoxicating aromas of the leathers, their textures, and the variety of colors were
a joy to my senses.
After making a purchase, I joined the others in the Piazza where they were talking with Antonio, the
man who grows the beautiful fields of sunflowers next to Casa Bellavista. We headed to a nearby bar
to “take a caffe”. After a brief visit, Simonetta, Guido, Edie and I to continued our passigiata.
Walking down Via Nazionalle we could not help but enjoy the shops brightly colored displays.
We paused a while at Trushers, a beautifully decorated martini bar, housed in a thousand year old
building, where we enjoyed delightful antipasti snacks along with our drinks of choice.
The evening was moving along and now it was time for dining. We headed back through the Piazza della
Republica and up Via Dardano to Trattoria Dardano for our evening meal. Trattoria Dardano, a family
owned and operated trattoria features a menu of typical Tuscan cuisine. We enjoyed a variety of antipasti,
primi and secundi courses. Being a lover of duck, I was consistent with my ordering: pici e anatra for
my primi and roast anatra for my secundi. A contorni of Tuscan beans and dolce completed a fine dinner.
We enjoyed a glass of homemade bay leaf liquor as a perfect ending to a delightful meal and an evening
in Cortona, under the Tuscan moon.
Edie and Dave