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 after Arezzo.
Originally an Umbrian city, it was conquered and enlarged by the Etruscans, who called it Curtun. 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.
Photo Credits: Richard Smith