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Porta Bifora in Cortona

Historical Buildings

According to tradition, through this gate the Ghibellines of Arezzo raided Cortona

The Porta Bifora (Double-arched window Gate) or Porta Ghibellina (Ghibelline Gate) (called Bacarelli in the Middle Ages) is located in Cortona and was named so because in Etruscan times (first half of the 2nd century BC) it consisted of a double-arched entrance.

On the inside of the gate there are two masonry construction parts perpendicular to its axis, while on the outside is a flat square-shaped surface composed of rather large, squared blocks, various stones, and mortar, which could have served as a foundation for a tower.

The discovery of two votive Etruscan bronze statues (3rd century BC) depicting Culsans and Selvans near the gate attest to the sacred function that the twin opening had: the gates, in fact, were used, respectively and according to precise rites and norms, to enter and exit the city, and each of the two divinities was placed to protect its own fornix.

For many years the situation remained unchanged, but between the 5th and 6th centuries AD, the eastern access was closed; around the year one thousand, then, considerable changes were made on the gate and the surrounding area.

According to oral tradition, through this gate, on February 2, 1258, Ghibellines from Arezzo along with exiled Guelphs from Cortona allegedly entered the city by deception, ravaging it; perhaps for this reason, when the city walls were being rebuilt, the gate was closed.

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