CORTONA once an ancient Umbrian fortress, then Etruscan and then a Roman city. Its importance in Etruscan times can be seen from the massive city walls.
Before entering the city itself through Piazzale Garibaldi, one should see the Church of San Domenico with an altar-piece by Beato Angelico and other works by Sasseita and Signorelli.
A masterpiece by Angelico, one of his finest, is to be found in the former Church of the Gesu, in front of the Cathedral, which is now used as a Diocesan Museum with other important works by P. Lorenzetti, Signorelli, etc. In the Cathedral, Romanesque but enlarged by Giuliano da Sangallo, there is a remarkable Roman Sarcophagus.
The Etruscan Museum (Palazzo Casali, Piazza Signoretti) is important for its collection of Etruscan urns, vases, weapons and bronzes, including the famous lamp with sixteen lights. Going up to the Church of Santa Margherita (a modern rebuilding but still with the fine Tomb of the Saint) there is a fine view over the plain below and Lake Trasimeno.
The Renaissance Church of Santa Maria del CaL cinaio by Francesco di Giorgio Martini is worth a visit.
Skirting Lake Trasimeno, one passes through Castiglione del Lago (Ducal Palace with 16° century frescoes and a Madonna attributed to the young Raphael in the Church of the Maddalena) to arrive at CHIUSI.