“It has a most irregular layout based around its four asymmetrical bastions, which they were forced to build in this manner as a result of the uneven hilltop, but also to exploit the old town walls.”
There has probably been a fortress on the hilltop overlooking Cortona since the 5th or 6th century BC, when the original Etruscan walls followed a course which roughly corresponds to the existing perimeter walls of today. However the first historical re- cords describing a ‘strong and beautiful fortress’ date back to 1258 AD. Having been plundered and sacked several times during the wars with Arezzo it was sold to the Florentine Republic in 1411, together with the entire city of Cortona, although re- construction work only began in 1527.
The first task was to connect the fortress to the town walls, thereby creating a pentagonal-shaped, internal courtyard.