Tuesday, October 6, 2015

THE STREETS OF CORTONA

We spent three nights in the Etruscan hill town of Cortona.  It was one of our favorite stops on our Italian trip.  In part, I think that was because our hotel was located right in the center of town.  But for some reason I didn't get that many photographs of the town generally.  So what follows is a bit of a hodge-podge.

First, as mentioned in a previous post, Cortona is the location for Frances Mayes' "Under the Tuscan Sun," her memoir of the villa, Bramasole, that she purchased, renovated, and expanded.  We did make the longish walk to the villa from the historical part of town, and here are the photos that I got of that trek.




The villa's walls were a wonderful ochre color.  The last shot is of the gate to the drive leading up to the residence, which of course is private.  I liked the shot for the series of zig-zag lines made by the gate and stone walls.  In truth, we only spent a few minutes on the lane below the villa before heading back into town.


It was a pleasant walk, though.

Cortona does sport a cathedral, though one that is modest compared to its counterparts in some of the other towns we visited, such as Siena or Orvieto.  I liked the following shot of the steps leading up to the cathedral for its composition.  Or maybe it's just me.


I really didn't take many photos in the church, and all I kept were this of a lovely stained glass window . . .


and the following symmetrical shot looking toward the sanctuary.


The town's favorite saint is St. Margaret.  Born in Tuscany in 1247 CE, she had a difficult childhood and became the mistress of a noble at 17 and an unwed mother when in her 20s.  After her lover was murdered, she led a pious life devoted to care for the poor, downtrodden, and abandoned.  the Church considers her the patron saint of the falsely accused; hoboes; homeless; insane; orphaned; mentally ill; midwives; penitents; single mothers; reformed prostitutes; stepchildren; and tramps.  That's a big responsibility.  All of the representations of her seemed to include a dog, apparently the dog that had led her into the woods to discover her murdered lover.  There is a lovely statue of her near the cathedral that I caught in the morning light.  (Note the dog.)


Oddly, the statue includes a semi-lovable bronze dragon at its base.


Hee is another representation of St. Margaret, inset in the wall of a building.  (Again, note the dog.)


Here, at random, are a few more scenes from the town.




I did find myself trying to capture doorways wherever we were touring.  I also kept taking shots of side streets that looked quaint or authentic, which they were.  I also caught a few shots of our fellow travelers.


People actually live in Cortona and I did catch a few candid shots of them, including a busker guitarist and three older men who seemed to be enjoying just watching the day go by.



John


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