Besides lovely streets, incredible art, architecture and views, Cortona offers many entertaining events which make the town one the best destinations to visit in Tuscany. Especially Summer events in Cortona can be really interesting.
Cortona On The Move photo exhibitions
One of my favorite summer events is Cortona on the Move, the international photography festival displaying incredible photo exhibitions throughout the town. Not only the themes and the pictures are beautiful and carefully selected by the talented festival directors – also the settings, venues and displays make the festival a very inspiring and interesting experience. The exhibitions are open for three months, from mid July to the end of September, and their venues are the best excuse to walk around the town, from the Fortress at the very top to the beautiful noble palaces and old “working” locations in the center.
Mix Festival means art, literature, music
In the month of July you may see a big stage built in Signorelli square, it’s the Mix Festival stage – this festival replaced the successful Under the Tuscan Sun Festival that used to animate Cortona summers from 2003 to 2011. The “new” mix festival was born as a combination of art, literature and music – concerts and literature talks (usually only in Italian, unfortunately!) animate the main squares and S.Agostino conference center, on Via Guelfa. Worth seeing is every year the classical concert featuring Orchestra della Toscana.
Medieval experience with the Archidado Joust
Another favorite is the historical reenactment “Giostra dell’Archidado”. It is a medieval re-enactment including a crossbow competition among the 5 neighborhoods of Cortona (named “quintieri”), several medieval parades, music and flag-flying show and the historical representation of the medieval wedding between Francesco Casali, the signore of the town, with Antonia Salimbeni, noble lady from Siena. The events takes place over a couple of weeks between the end of May and the beginning of June – don’t miss it if you want to relive the atmosphere of the ancient town and see some beautiful costumes.
Classic evergreens – antique fair, sacred music, bistecca festival
Talking about summer events, I must mention the Cortona Antiques Fair, one of the oldest events in town taking place since 1962 at the beginning of September. Inside Palazzo Vagnotti, for two weeks great antiques dealers from all over Italy display and sell their unique pieces. Also, worth checking is the sacred music festival in July, usually including a very special concert played at sunrise at Le Celle franciscan hermitage… so inspiring!
Finally, food lovers should not miss the sagra della bistecca (florentine steak festival) and sagra del fungo porcino (porcini mushrooms festival), both taking place at Parterre gardens. You may want to visit many delicious sagre all around the area but these two are quite popular among locals and, most important, they are right in the town center. If you are in Cortona around mid of August make sure you see the giant steak grill, it’s legendary!