The “Poggio”

Here you can find everything: landscape, view, monuments, history, religiousness, poetry. This is an area of monasteries; going uphill helps to understand the spiritual ascent. Here you go up or fall down.

(A. Tafi)

The Poggio is one of the most evocative quarters of Cortona; as we can easily understand from its traditional name, it is situated in the upper part of the hill, right below the acropolis with the Fortress and the Basilica of Santa Margherita. This is an area of monasteries, as Angelo Tafi said: there are some imposing monasteries like the huge Convento della SS.Trinità, which can be seen even from the valley, or the Convento delle Clarisse, which has been recently restored. However, there are some other religious buildings that have lost their original function: the convento di Santa Maria Maddalena, also called delle Santucce, which was a rest home for the elderly, probably not perfectly in compliance with the law and the security regulation, but certainly bigger and quieter than the new one that has been built in the center of Camucia; or the old monastery of Santa Croce, whose ruins have been encompassed in the gardens of one of the most beautiful villas on the hill of Cortona.

This area is really breathtaking: lovely squares adorned with centuries-old trees or embellished with public works (such as the imposing Caviglia well), or narrow winding streets, which are still missing the pavement but not less evocative; churches and bell towers rising on top of slopes, like San Cristoforo; small houses (today they could be called “row houses” by town planners), with nice gardens and vegetable gardens; imposing defense walls, like the huge Etruscan walls within porta Montanina, which also shows the ruins of a Roman aqueduct, unfortunately fragmented and destroyed, or the long medieval walls, an imposing monument carrying the flavor of conflicts and death for the proud independence of Cortona. The history of a glorious past can be breathed in every corner; soldiers and emperors passed along this place; great men lived here; painter Luca Signorelli spent here long years of his life, leaving evidence of his art; painter Gino Severini was one of the brothers of the Compagnia and made an important watercolor painting; Rina Maria Pierazzi wrote here some of her best pages; and modern VIPs such as sportsmen, journalists, singers have chosen the beautiful houses in the Poggio as their residences trying to re-establish a centuries-old tradition.

San Niccolò, with the fascination and beauty of an extraordinary location, could not have been built anywhere else.