Traces of a fortress in Cortona already exist around the 6th-5th century BC, in the Etruscan period, when the walls of the ancient city were much more extensive. However, a first real historical attestation that reports the presence of a fortress that dominated Cortona and the entire valley dates back to 1258, in the late Middle Ages, a period in which the defense of villages was fundamental.
From there, a series of historical events followed, like battles and looting, which brought the fortress under the Republic of Florence. Cosimo de' Medici that time commissioned the military engineer Gabrio Serbelloni and the architect Francesco Laparelli to complete the fortress, according to the need for an increasingly structured and solid defense. It was at this stage that the Girifalco Fortress assumed its natural structure, just as we can see today.
Although militarization was necessary at the time, the Cortona Fortress was never used during war and, after the Lorraine era, it was donated to the Cortonese community who used it as a prison.
However, the fortress played an important role during the Second World War, serving as a refuge for Italian families returning from abroad, as well as a base for first German and then Allied military communications.
Today the Girifalco Fortress is one of the cultural spots in Cortona, it hosts events and exhibitions, such as the “Cortona on the move”, and can be visited by the general public. The view from here is so fascinating that you can watch over the entire Valdichiana up to Lake Trasimeno, which will seem very close to you. If you love sunsets, synchronize the clocks and be on the walls in time: you will be astonished.
On May 1st 2021 the Girifalco Fortress reopened its doors to visitors. Below is the updated timetable:
1st May - 13th June open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
14th June - 5th September open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm every day
6th September - 3rd October open from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm every day
4th October - 1st November open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm every day
In the months of November and December, January and February the Girifalco Fortress will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Full ticket - 5 €
Reduced ticket - 3 €
During the Cortona On the Move 2021 International Photography Festival, from July 16th to October 3rd:
Full ticket - 6 €
Reduced ticket - 3 €