We're thinking about taking a day trip by train to Cortona on an upcoming 4 days in Florence. We've been to Siena before, so we thought we'd branch out to another Hill town. Has anybody been? Is it worth the 90 min. train ride each way? Any advice on what to do?
We wnjoyed Cortona......the view are wonderful....I think there were other smaller towns that were prettier....but we liked it. You could get a private guide and have him take you for the day to locations that might interest you. We did that.Actually had a private guide take us from florence to our bed and breakfast in Umbria, not far from Cortona. He took us to Chianti, a small walled town, tuscany, etc. He picked us up from Florence....it was a great day! He also took us to a location above Florence where we could see the entire city. Marilee
If you're going by train to Cortona then the time involved more than just the train ride from Florence; you need to take the bus up the hill. It's not far, but figure 30-40 minutes up if you include geting off the train and buying a bus ticket, waiting for the bus, etc. And you need to leave even earlier on the way back down so you don't miss your train.
Cortona is a nice town, but lots of similar towns can be found in the region, so I'd say look for convenience of visiting. May I suggest Orvieto? A little farther down, but there is a funicular that takes you right from the rail station up to the hill town, then a mini-bus meets at the top of the funicular to take you on a 5-min ride to the town center.
We enjoyed our visit to Cortona last summer. We did it as a daytrip from our agriturismo near Montepulciano and it was an easy drive there. Have you visited Lucca? That is a very charming town and would be closer to Florence than Cortona. Or have you been to Pisa? Good luck with your decision.
We were in Cortona in the middle of May and it was very very crowded. We were driving and the parking lots were overflowing. Finally we figured it was better to go there in the afternoon around the time everything was closed. Tourists had gone away and then the shops opened up again around 3 and it was calmer and much less congested. Very touristy though.