Via Nazionale -- All the guidebooks point out this is the only flat street in the hilltop town of Cortona. That means many others are quite steep and they really are ! (But often you are rewarded with a stunning view of the valley below).
So let's discuss a little whether tourism brought on by the media hype was good or bad for Cortona (more on this: Cortona III). Several years back, a similar event hit Provence in the south of France. Popularity of books on Provence by British writer Peter Mayle (who himself moved to the region) resulted in tourists crowding quaint villages and steeper real estate prices. Some were even mad that Mayle had ruined their Provence.
Was it really so? Mayle's response was: "Without tourism, I think you'd see a lot less care in the maintenance of buildings, churches and chateaux. And most important, I don't think you'd see people bothering to open businesses down here. The good that tourists do and bring far outweighs the bad."
Well, outsiders like me are not in the position to agree or disagree with his opinion. Has the change after the hype been welcomed by locals? Whatever the answer, I think that's what matters.
Cortona, Italy IV
Click here for a larger image of Cortona, Italy IV.
Media: Original watercolor on paper
Image Size: 8.25 x 11.5 in. (on 9 x 12 in. paper)