Cortona is one of the oldest hilltop towns in the Valdichiana area in southern Tuscany. It was founded as an Umbrian city, later conquered and enlarged by the Etruscans before becoming a Roman colony. The city is surrounded by stone walls dating to Etruscan and Roman times. The now separate piazza della Repubblica and piazza Signorelli were joined until the 13th century, a location that once housed the ancient forum. The squares are framed by a number of beautiful public and private medieval buildings (including the striking town hall), but among the town’s gems to visit, archeology lovers shouldn’t miss MAEC, the Etruscan Academy Museum of the City of Cortona. This exhibition space, spanning over 6500 sq. feet, is home to an array of extraordinary masterpieces produced by the Etruscan civilization, such as the Tabula Cortonensis, one of the longest Etruscan texts in the world, and finds from the archaeological area surrounding the town. Check out the museum website for more information.