Cortona dates back to the Etruscans, who left traces of their civilizations. Just like it happened all around Italy, then came the Romans and so on and so forth.
A well-known street in Cortona is Via Janelli. It is famous for its medieval half-timbered houses from the 14th century. It is said that they are among the oldest private homes in continuous use in Italy. They stand out for their cantilevered first floor supported by wood beams. I kept thinking they’d collapse any minute but no, they held on like they had for centuries. It is only natural to wonder how much longer they’ll last.
Let’s find Via Janelli together. We set off after a good cup of Italian caffé under the shade of the Clock Tower and the 13th century town hall at Piazza della Repubblica. We take Via Roma to the left of the Palazzo Comunale (town hall) and walk as far as Viale delle Mure Etrusche, where we turn right.
It sounds easy but in fact it is not so. The winding streets surge upwards in a cruel slope. After all, Cortona sits on top of a hill. Not a straight or flat stretch of lane to be found. This made my progress rather difficult. And the fact that Via Janelli is a tiny lane that wasn’t even on my map.
But I made it, look!