If you are driving through Tuscany or you have rented a car, your first question might be “where to park in Cortona?”. That is a very good question. Cortona can be quite crowded sometimes during the Summer and find a free parking is not always easy. But don’t get discouraged! In this post I will try to help you with a map, a list of parking lots and a couple of tips.
First of all, due to the narrow urban layout of the city, the old town centre of Cortona is limited to traffic. There are some areas which you can access by car, but they are a limited number of streets and in limited hours. Unless it is strictly necessary, don’t enter the old town with your car. You can easily leave it in one of the parking areas just outside the walls. Some of these are paid parkings, so pay attention at the color of the lines:
- Blue: payment needed
- White: no payment needed
- Yellow: reserved parking lots, usually for locals living within the walls or for business/emergency vehicles/buses.
- Gravel area (no lines): usually no payment is needed, but check the signs around to be sure.
Here is a map, provided by the Municipality of Cortona, showing all parking lots close to the old town center and their GPS coordinates:
It is the more convenient parking, free of charge, very close to the city center. There is a convenient escalator that takes you straight to Piazza Garibaldi.
Via Cesare Battisti
You can also park along this street, Via Cesare Battisti. There is a small parking lot at the big bend, and parking on both sides of the street. Payment needed (there are only some white lines at the beginning of the road). Remember: the street is one way only from the intersection with Via Severini.
My tip: If you drive up to Piazza Garibaldi (at the end of via Cesare Battisti), you can let your passengers out there, and save them the walk from the parking. Then take the ramp back down (Via Severini) and turn right for Spirito Santo, or left to look for a free spot in Via Cesare Battisti again.
Piazza del Mercato
It is a large parking area outside the main gates of the town, from the gas station area all the way to Santa Maria gate. It is all free of charge. The walk to the center may be steep but there is plenty of space. The area also serves as the town’s official bus station.
It’s the area in front of the town’s cemetery. It is quite far from the town center (a very steep walk!), anyway it can be a solution during very crowded weekends.
Driving along the old town wall you see a “P” sign on the left: it is a small parking area, free of charge. If you leave your car here, you can easily reach Porta Colonia gate through some steps.
This is a “pay and display” parking area just outside the town gate known as Porta Colonia. It is small but very convenient as you can reach the main squares walking on an almost-flat road. If you are lucky, you may also find a free parking lot on the other side along the city walls, with no fee (white lines).
Santa Maria Nuova
You may also park along the road going down to Santa Maria Nuova church, and in the space in front of the church. No payment is needed. The walk back up is steep but then through via Dardano you can quickly reach the main sights.
Fortezza (Santa Margherita)
Consider this area if you are staying in the upper part of the town, or you want to explore the higher area without having to walk all the way up the hill. It is the most convenient parking to visit Santa Margherita church and the fortress. Also, a few buses usually drop people here to pick them up at Mercato.