Cortona began as an Etruscan settlement and survived. She went through the middle ages and survived. Now Cortona endures being a tourist attraction, and survives. In spite of the popularity of the books by American author and part-time resident of Cortona, Francis Mayes , Cortona refuses to go the way of San Gimignano and other Tuscan hill towns and become a tourist trap.
The people are proud, devout, and stubbornly hang on to their traditions and old buildings. The Cortonezzi (did I spell that right???)are very caring people and will go out of their way to solve problems for friends or strangers. On my last visit to Cortona, several of the Cortonezzi helped my students and I make our flights in Rome in spite of a train strike in Tuscany. On this trip the local pharmacist came to the rescue of two of my fellow travelers when they forgot to pack their prescription medicines.
I admire the simple way they live here. We Americans are always in a hurry with schedules crammed with things to do. The people here are very hard working, but they make time for long lunches and dinners with family and friends every day. Drive up windows do not exist in Italy.
Taking the Passieggio
(may have miss-spelled that???)
Every evening all over Italy everyone comes out of their homes to take their passieggio (evening stroll). If the weather is cold or pouring down rain,the stroll may not last long but it takes a lot to keep these hardy community minded folks in doors cut off from their neighbors. Long after dark, little kids play tag or kick a soccer ball around a piazza and babies and toddlers are pushed in strollers by proud parents and admired by all the neighbors. We Americans would never dream of keeping our kids up until 10:00pm or later at night but it happens every night in Italy. I suspect the kids, at least the little ones, take long naps in the afternoon.