Tuscany’s southern provinces offer a natural beauty and a rich cultural heritage that remain curiously under-appreciated by many visitors to the region. Vineyards and olive groves crisscross woods of oak, chestnut and pine to form the fertile mosaic of the southern Tuscan landscape. The Val d’Orcia (Orcia River Valley), together with Tuscany’s highest mountain, Monte Amiata, and the smaller Monte Cetona, provide some of the most wonderful natural scenery in all of Tuscany. Strikingly varied landscapes are also found just over the line in the region of Umbria, home to the huge Lake Trasimeno and the idyllic Monti Sibillini.
Featured Villas by Region
Discover Cortona & Southern Tuscany
Think antiques, ceramics, wood crafts, art, music, beauty and Brunello wines.
Cortona is a perfectly preserved medieval jewel, rising so steeply from the surrounding terrain that many of its walkways are actually staircases cut into stone. Ample recompense for the climb is paid in panoramic views over the Tuscan plain known as the Valdichiana. Legend has it that Cortona is older than even Troy. The town later joined Arezzo as part of the Etruscan Confederation, and Etruscan remains are found in its Museo dell’Academia Etrusca, as well as in a couple of tomb sites on the outskirts of town. Paintings by Cortona’s most prominent artist, Luca Signorelli, are displayed in the town’s exceptional Museo Diocesano, as are works by Fra Angelico and other masters.
An abundance of natural hot springs scattered throughout the area have given rise to spa towns where local residents and visitors have long sought the health benefits of “taking the waters.” Among the southern Tuscan hills one also discovers a wealth of unspoiled hill towns and villages, endowed with vestiges of the region’s fascinating cultural history, from Etruscan times to the present. While enjoying these many attractions, visitors to southern Tuscany also benefit from extremely easy access to the larger Italian cities of Florence, Siena and Rome. Not only does the major A1 Highway cut straight through southern Tuscany on its way from Florence to Rome, but a major train line follows much the same course. Passengers boarding in the nearby town of Chiusi find themselves in Rome in about an hour or Florence in an hour and a quarter.