Reservations are going fast for an August 2007 excursion to the Tuscany-Cortona region of Italy. Converse and the college of William and Mary are offering the August 15-23, 2007 journey to alumnae and friends of the colleges at the special rate of $2,095 per person, plus airfare and VAT based on double occupancy.
In recent times, Cortona has been made famous by Frances Mayes’ book Under the Tuscan Sun, a chronicle of her restoration of an old farmhouse a short distance outside of the town walls. However, the town has a much longer and rich history. Founded by the Etruscans, Cortona is one of the oldest and most beautiful of the hill towns of Tuscany. As a major power in the Middle Ages, Cortona succeeded in holding its own against Siena and nearby Arezzo. Blessed with a scenic location on the side of a mountain, Cortona offers splendid views over the Val di Chiana to the hills beyond. The countryside surrounding Cortona is filled with olive groves and vineyards.
Let the charming village of Cortona be your base as you travel through the surrounding hill country, admiring the beauty of the land. In Umbria, explore two walled cities—medieval Assisi, home to the exquisite Basilica of St. Francis, and Perugia, an ancient Etruscan city-state. Then, journey to tiny Montepulciano, set in the heart of Chianti Country. In Siena, navigate narrow cobblestone streets lined with gothic buildings, visit the city’s magnificent Duomo and stroll the Piazza del Campo, one of the loveliest squares in Italy. Finally, experience the brilliant artistic and architectural heritage of Florence, the Cradle of the Renaissance.