Cortona is a Tuscan hill town that predates Roman times and is still surrounded by a thick, medieval wall. The town is best known as being the setting for Frances Mayes’ book Under the Tuscan Sun. Her restored villa is just outside the city wall.
Cortona is about 1½ hours southeast of Florence, and 2½ hours north of Rome. We are planning to arrange shuttles from the Rome airport depending on interest.
We will be having services in the Teatro Signorelli—which is a beautiful opera house in the heart of Cortona. Seating is limited, but we expect to be able to host about 300 attendees.
While Cortona is a small town, its streets are packed with boutiques, galleries, museums and restaurants. There are 32 restaurants within its walls, and it is known as a foodie vacation destination for the Italians. There are also many Italian cafés, pizzerias and gelato shops to choose from.
Since there is much to see in Cortona itself, we are planning various events within the city. In addition, we are planning several excursions during the Feast.
Cortona draws many English-speaking tourists, and many of the merchants speak some English.
Cortona will not be an all-inclusive site, but it will have much the same feel. For those staying within the city walls, there will be many opportunities to visit with one another in the piazzas—the town squares. There will be a variety of housing styles available—from hotels to vacation homes.
A word of caution: Cortona is a “hill town” in the truest sense. Other than the one main flat road that runs through the city, all the streets and alleys are steep ramps or staircases. The roads are pedestrian-only, so you won’t be able to drop anyone off at the theater where services are held. So, if you would like to attend, please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs.
Cortona registration will begin Sunday, Jan. 15, and run through Monday, Jan. 16. Acceptances will be based on a lottery system, so there is no need to register at a specific time.
We look forward to sharing an enjoyable and inspiring Feast with you in Cortona, Italy.
- Cortona is built on the side of a large hill and almost all of its roads and walkways are steep. Please be sure that you are comfortable walking on steep cobblestone streets and stairs, often without railings.
- Cortona is a pedestrian town, so you will not be able to drive a car inside the walls or drop off passengers where services are being held. Free and paid parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis outside the city walls, which is approximately a quarter mile from services. The lots tend to fill on weekends, so you may want to plan to arrive early if you’re driving.
- Round-trip tickets to Rome for travel dates around the Feast are typically $600 to $1,000 (U.S. dollars).
- Several hotels are within walking distance of services. Prices start around 80 euros per night based on double occupancy (breakfast included). In addition, there are many affordable apartments, B&Bs and villa rentals available. Attendees are encouraged to choose accommodations within walking distance of the hall.
- As of this writing, the exchange rate is hovering around US$1 = 0.93 euro.
- Please wait until you receive your site acceptance before reserving housing. Once you receive your acceptance and housing brochure, we encourage you to reserve housing as soon as possible, as some of the special rates are only available through the end of February.
If not accepted at first, registrants will be placed on a waiting list until accepted, or until you choose to register for another site.