. There were a few reasons that we went to this beautiful city. First, it was in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane, which was just wonderful. But also, Laura had some neighbors that have a villa right outside the city that we got to go see and hang out at the pool. It was actually kind of a funny experience because we took the train to a town right outside Cortona and we were going to walk to the actual town. We started walking up this winding road and passed some really good views of the valley and some neat houses. It was sooooo hot! We were walking for about 15 minutes, though it felt like a half an hour when we decided to walk back down to the town and hopefully find a taxi.
The Winding Road
Lucky for us there was a service that was run by a really nice old man and his son and they had a van that could fit us all in it. We took the taxi ride, and we went up the same winding road and we had even better views of Tuscany, it was breathtaking! Needless to say, it took about 15 minutes to get us all the way up to Cortona...just imagine how long it would have taken to walk! Then the guy gave us his cell number to call for when we needed a ride back down to the train station. Once we were there, it was really exciting. Laura had to check out how to get to the villa at an internet cafe, so she and I went to a shop and Caitlin, Jeana, Trista and Kim waited in the town square. We decided to go look for the villa and then explore the town more after we got back.
The church on the way to the villa
So we tried to figure out the directions. That was an ordeal! We started walking in one direction and followed a group of people up this steep climb which ended up leading to a church, which was pretty neat to see. Then we realized we were in the wrong direction and headed toward a different part of town. We went outside the city walls and asked a few people who had a map which way to go. They were Australian tourists and soooo nice! They had an extra map they let us use. We started walking down a road on the outside of the town and followed it for awhile. We passed this really neat church that had a couple cars parked outside and we even saw a roadside shrine, which was really cool. Laura had been trying to call her dad meanwhile to see if he could give us better directions to the villa.
Enjoying the pool
Eventually we found the little road we were supposed to walk down. It was a little confusing to know which property was theirs. Partway down we thought that we were on the wrong track so Trista and Caitlin turned around to go back to town. Laura and I went on a little further to check and when we realized it WAS the right place, Kim tried yelling back to Caitlin and Trista, but apparently she thought they had already left (which they hadn't, we didn't discover this until AFTER we came back from the villa). As we got closer, some of the neighbors dogs were barking at us which was totally scary, but we got past it and OH it was worth it! The villa was gorgeous and the view was even better, and needless to say, after all that walking on that super hot day, that cold pool felt really good on our feet.
Waiting for the train
Once we decided to head back to town, we got to the end of the road and saw Trista and Caitlin waiting there! We felt so bad because we thought they had gone back to town, but they were very gracious with the rest of us and said they had a good time hanging out on the road. Once we explored Cortona a little more, we got to see the theater that Eagan played at when they came, and we had some amazing gellato. They were even having a mini-carnival, kind of yard sale happening. Also, there were some great postcards and I saw some neat terracotta. But the best part was that Caitlin got an AMAZING oil painting of Tuscany that was an original work by an artist there. It was something she had always wanted, and it was so beautiful. It made it a little tight because Laura had already got the cab, but it worked out in the end, thankfully. The funny part was that the old cabbie was done for the day and his son drove us back down. We went on a different road and he was going so fast! We thought we were going to die...but we didn't. We waited at the train station for a bit as Caitlin, Trista and I bonded over scrapbooking (aka 'cropping'). It was a glorious day in Cortona.