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History of Cortona



Cortona: the city that Virgil said was founded by the legendary Corito, was probably an Umbrian fortress, passed to the Etruscans between the 8th and 7th century BC, and then became an important lucumonia. At the end of the 4th century. B.C. it entered the Roman alliance, but no one knows when it was actually occupied; it acquired the Roman citizenship during the social war and received a colony from Silla. After that there are no more certain news: perhaps it was taken by the Goths in 450. It reappears in the 11th century, struggling with Perugia and with the bishops of Arezzo, governed by democratic institutions that guaranteed the city a quiet internal life. In 1258, the free municipality of Cortona was sacked by Arezzo and only three years later with the help of Siena regained their independence, rising rapidly; in 1325 it became a Bishops seat, while the city pierced to Signoria under Ranieri Casali, whose descendants held Cortona until 1409, when Ladislaus, King of Naples, seized it, in order to sell it to the Florentines in 1411 and since then followed the fate of Florence. Between the 14th  and 17th century, Cortona was one of the main cultural and artistic centers of Tuscany.

City of Tuscany, in the province of Arezzo. The appearance of Cortona is characteristic: steep streets, paved with slabs, Etruscan tombs, ancient houses, churches and palaces of great architectural interest. Reminders of the Etruscan city are: parts of the walls, the so-called Pythagorean Tanella, a hypogeum from the 4th century BC, with a vault of large blocks; archaic mounds, called “melon” of Camucia and Sodo from which derives a rich furnishing (7th to 6thcentury BC), preserved in the Museo dell’Accademia Etrusca together with other objects and works of art like the famous embossed bronze chandelier or the Tabula Cortonensis.

Among the medieval and Renaissance palaces the most important are the town hall of the 13thcentury, with the tower of 1509, the Praetorian Palace of the 13th century, the Renaissance façade which now hosts the Museum MAEC (with collections of Egyptian, Etruscan, Roman and an art gallery with paintings by Pinturicchio and Luca Signorelli), the Etruscan Academy and a valuable library, the Palace Fierli-Petrella, of the 15th century, the 18th-century Palazzo Ferretti, Renaissance palaces Brunelleschi-Lovari, Mancini-Sernini and the Villa Passerini, said the Palazzone, built by GB Caporali around 1515.

Among the sacred buildings are the churches of S. Agostino from the end of the 2nd century, of San Domenico of 14th to 15th century, the Romanesque Gothic church with a fresco by Fra Angelico, of St. Francis started in 1245 with Romanesque-Gothic elements, of Santa Margherita founded by the saint herself in the  13th century, but completely rebuilt in the 19th century, with the Gothic tomb of the saint of 1362, of S. Maria Nuova, Renaissance 1550-1554, probably built and designed by Vasari, the Cathedral first built in the 11th century, rebuilt in the late 15th century (the bell tower of 1556), of San Nicolò of the 16th century, the former church of Jesus, formed by two overlapping temples (1498-1505): the upper one housing the Diocesan Museum with several important paintings by Luca Signorelli and Fra Angelico’s Annunciation. Nearby lie the Convento Le Celle or the Cappuccini, founded by S. Francis between 1211 and 1221, and La Madonna del Calcinaio, Renaissance, which began in 1485. Cortona was the home of painters Luca Signorelli and Pietro Berrettini da Cortona and S. Margaret of Laviano, said da Cortona.

The History of Cortona by

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