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Cetona
 

Cetona is a town and comune in the southern part province of Siena, Tuscany, in an area where Umbria and Lazio meet.

The geographical elevation is between 250 and 1,148 metres (Monte Cetona), the town itself situated at around 350 metres.

Some of the oldest human settlements of central Italy were discovered at the base of Monte Cetona, such as the Gosto cave (early neo-Paleolithic, 40 - 80th century BC) and Lattaia cave (9-10th century BC). The Belverde park hosts 25 prehistoric and Bronze Age caves, such as the San Francesco cave. Several Etruscan finds.

The town of Cetona developed on the hillside around the Rocca fortress, containing a square tower (ca 900 AD) and an inner fortress wall. It became known as the Scitonia castle. In the 1300s, Cetona was alternatingly ruled by Siena and Orvieto, and after a brief ruling by Perugia, annexed by Siena. An outer wall was built, containing two round towers (1458 AD). Grand Duke Cosimo I de' Medici sold Cetona in 1556, to the Marquis Chiappino Vitelli (1519-1575), who made the fortress into a private residence, and built the piazza, today named Piazza Garibaldi. His descendants also erected Palazzo Vitelli in the late 1600s. Cetona was connected to Sarteano (1772-1840), and included in Italia by king Vittorio Emanuele II (1861).

The place name of Cetona or Citonia (local variation) probably comes from the Latin word caedita, deforestation with regard to a deforested and cultivated place. An early Christian parish church, mentioned in documents as baptisterium Sancti Johannis de Queneto or de Queteno, may have been named in reference to the Chieteno stream that flows just south of Cetona. The first mention seems to be podestà of Siena, Ildebrando Aldorandeschi (Pope Gregory VII), whose estate mentions Cetona as under Orvieto's rule.

Churches in Cetona are the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo (built 1155) and the Chiesa la Collegiata della San Trinita church (1475), as well as the Convento di San Francesco (since 1212) and Convento di Santa Maria a Belverde (frescoes by Cola Petruccioli of Orvieto).

Cetona today is traditionally agricultural (vine, olive), but increasingly basing its economy on agritourism. Archeological finds are on display in Museo Civico per la Preistoria del Monte Cetona (in Town), which also administers the Parco Archeologico Naturalistico del Monte Cetona (three km towards Monte Cetona). The Rocca is still privately owned; the other significant hill is occupied by Palazzo a Parco Terrosi (1750), owned by Valentino.


 
 
   
 

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