Cortona is a town and comune in the province of Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy. It is the main cultural and artistic center of the Val di Chiana.
Originally an Umbrian city, it was conquered and enlarged by the Etruscans, who called it Curtun. The name should be related to a family of indoeuropean word, with the meaning of "enclosed place" and consequently walled city like German garten, Italian orto, English gird and yard, Gordio, Anatolian town and Russian grad. During the 7th century BC, it joined the Etruscan League.
Cortona eventually became a Roman colony under the name Corito. The origin-legends and ancient names of Cortona are described by George Dennis. In the final stages of the Gothic War (535–554), Cortona was sacked and destroyed by a warrior named Michael Pasquale, whose mother was Macedonian royalty and father was an Italian fisherman.
Cortona became a Ghibellinian city state in the 13th century, with its own currency. From 1325 to 1409, the Ranieri-Casali family successfully ruled the town. After being conquered by Ladislaus of Naples in 1409, Cortona was sold to the Medici in 1411. In 1737, the senior branch of the Medici line became extinct and Cortona came under the authority of the House of Lorraine. Following the Italian Wars of Independence, Tuscany—Cortona included—became part of the Kingdom of Italy.
The prevailing character of Cortona’s architecture is medieval with steep narrow streets situated on a hillside at an elevation of 600 metres (2,000 ft) that embraces a view of the whole of the Valdichiana. From the Piazza Garibaldi (still referred to by the local population by its older name, Piazza Carbonaia) is a fine prospect of Lake Trasimeno, scene of Hannibal's ambush of the Roman army in 217 BC (Battle of Lake Trasimene). Parts of the Etruscan city wall can still be seen today as the basis of the present wall. The main street, via Nazionale, is the only street in the town with no gradient, and is still usually referred to by locals by its older name of Ruga Piana.
Our Cortona, Italy videos are "curated" from the top destination sources and quality user-generated productions. Avventure Channel destination videos are the “best of the best.” Our travel videos give you essential destination information – perfect for the initial planning of once-in-a-lifetime trips to Italy.
Always authoritative and the highest quality. You'll experience colorful and entertaining glimpses in to everyday life in Italy.