The Girifalco Castle in Cortona was built in 1556 in the north-eastern corner of the defense walls, the highest point in the city, and was commissioned by the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de’ Medici.
The castle sits atop the ruins of similar fortresses from the Etruscan, Roman and medieval periods, the latter of which was destroyed during the “plunder” of 1258.
The castle was designed by Gabrio Serbelloni, the cousin of pope Pius IV, and the Cortona-born Francesco Laparelli. The building is shaped like a trapezoid, with four large bastions, and is a splendid example of 16th-century military architecture.
No evidence exists of battles at the castle after its reconstruction in the modern era. In reality, just like all the other fortifications in the Arezzo territory, the long period of peace during the Grand Duchy of Tuscany following the war with Siena (1554-1556) ensured that the castle was mostly unused.
Recently restored, the castle now hosts temporary exhibitions and is open to visitors. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy a breath-taking view of Cortona and the entire Valdichiana.