Tuscany, Cortona, cassa, villa,house
This part of Cortona will bring you to discover the upper part of the hill, which is called “Poggio”. In this area you will see the most breathtaking views and the most picturesque streets surrounded by an aura of spirituality. To find the “poggio” start from Piazza della Repubblica. There are steep slopes to walk up. Leave the post office on your left and take the small street (via Passerini) under the arch of the Palazzo del Capitano del Popolo, and you will directly arrive at the Church of San Francesco(13th century). This church, which has been recently restored, was built on the ruins of Roman thermal baths by Brother Elias, who succeeded Saint Francis at the head of the Franciscan Order. Where once some artists painted frescoes, you can see today some Baroque altars. Some relics of Saint Francis, Brother Elias’ tomb and painter Luca Signorelli’s tomb are still preserved inside the church.
Go up the steep via Berrettini and you will arrive at the heart of the Poggio, the upper part of the city. Across from Villa Cristoforo you will see the round well square, where women came to draw drinking water and nearby the laundry in Piazza Pescaia.
On the left you will find the birth house of Pietro Berrettini, a famous painter and architect of the 17th century.
Continue going up the hill up to Piazza della Pescaia (triangle shaped park on right side in the current picture on left and early 1900's on the right of the original neighborhood laundry), named after the Roman water tank that was at the foundations of the Monastery of Santa Chiara (16th century). It was designed by Vasari, whose style is perfectly identifiable in the big entrance room and in the church next to the monastery and was built to host the Franciscan Poor Clare Sisters.
On the opposite side of the square you see the Church of San Cristoforo (13th century), which is characterized by a simple structure with an open bell tower in the Romanic style. Picture below left and from the early 1900's at right.
The church is adjacent to the upper garden of Villa Cristoforo. The Villa Cristoforo garden was once owned by the Church. See the history of the church in the file below and a photo from the early 1900's at right.
The street leads from here to Porta Montanina (also called the Etruscan Gate, below and right), where you can see the ruins of the Etruscan city walls and of the Roman aqueduct.
You drive to Villa Cristoforo through the Etruscan Gate from Torreone.