Tuscany has numerous small, medieval and pre-medieval hill towns and villages. Details of some will be in the House Book, information books and leaflets that are in the house but it is always a delight to discover your own. The major towns and cities of the area are noted below.
On the first Sunday of each month, an antique market, said to be the largest in Europe, is held in Arezzo about half an hour by car from the house. A photograph of the Antique Market is shown here.
Lake Trasimeno, Italy's largest lake after the alpine lakes, is 20 mins car ride away across the border into Umbria. All around the lake there is a choice of small towns all different in character offering a range of activities. There are places to wind surf or sail, tree lined promenades shops and cafes. The lake is declared safe for swimming. One village, Tuoro sul Trasimeno has a beach area with children's playground and trampoline. Several villages specialise in fishing and fish restaurants. One has a small fishing museum. Passignano is the largest town.
There are inexpensive, modern ferryboats sailing several times a day to the islands in the lake. The trips take about half an hour from the mainland. It is possible to stay overnight on the largest of the islands in a B&B or the 4 star hotel. The women of the island sit outside their houses making lace to sell (apart from the siesta time from midday to mid afternoon). Hannibal passed alongside the lake with his elephants. He defeated the Roman army in a battle on the edge of Lake Trasimeno in BC 217. There is information available in the small museum on the main island.
The Castle of Montecchio is between Cortona and Castiglione Fiorentino. Sir John Hawkwood fought for Florence in the 14th Century and was given this castle as a reward. Knights such as Hawkwood (and possibly Hawkwood himself) were discussed by ex Monty Python star Terry Jones during an episode of his television series 'Medieval Lives'. There is more information on the web if you search for Sir John Hawkwood.
Assisi, the later home of Francis of Assisi, is close enough to Casa Marzi for a half day visit although a full day in the area is rewarding.
Perugia in Umbria is a lively university town with a very attractive medieval centre popular with Italians as well as visitors. There is an escalator from the parking area to the square where the medieval buildings are situated. There is an important jazz festival each summer.
Todi in Umbria is further away but excellent for a day trip. This medieval city has been voted the best place in the world to live by an American magazine.
The drive to the Umbrian town of Gubbio is well worth it as the town is very attractive and the journey covers some extremely pretty countryside.
Orvieto is a lovely city midway between Cortona and Rome. It is a good place to break the journey if you are travelling by car and you want to stop for lunch. There is a central park with shaded seating by the car park. The cathedral is a spectacular building faced with white and black marble.
Florence is best reached by train unless you are in a group. The trains are frequent and inexpensive from Camucia and the station is in Florence city centre. An open top tour bus leaves from near the station. If you do not know Florence well, it is an excellent way of getting a feel for the city. Check closing day for the museums and art galleries. There is free entrance on a Wednesday evening for some of these.
Siena is an hour by car. Easy jorney (see photos of the Palio).
Montalcino is a picturesque hill-top Etruscan and later medieval town famous for its Brunello wine. Its high site gives good views over the Asso, Ombrone and Arbia valleys.
The sea is about 2 hours drive away. The Cortonese go to the beaches in the Marmara area which is famous for the wild horses and land conservation. Parts are hilly but some areas are similar to the Camargue in southern France. Castiglione della Pescaia is a pretty fishing village with 2 excellent beaches. Siena is exactly half way so an overnight stay is feasible. There are plenty of excellent B&Bs for anyone wishing to stay overnight. In the summer it is best to book in advance.