Today Cetona has 3,000 inhabitants and covers 53 sq km including Mount Cetona, known in former times as "Monte Piesi" (1,148 m.), and the hills which slope down towards the flat bottom of the Astrone valley. Other than the main town itself, starding 385 metres above sea level, the Commune includes the villages of Piazze, a recent development, and the areas of Belverde and Camporsevoli. Even if residential tourism of élite classes has brought fame to the village of Cetona, the community has retained its rural identify on which its economy is predominantly based. The town is of Etruscan origin and is built along circular lines following the sides of the hill on which it stands. The square tower of the fortress is dated between 900 and 930 while the round towers date back to 1458.
Some of the oldest finds which bear witness to the presence of man in the Valdichiana have come to light on Mount Cetona. In the small GOSTO CAVE many hand-made stone artefacts have been discovered dating back to the MUSTERIAN culture (between 40,000 and 80,000 years ago). Similar objects have been found in the LATTAIA CAVE, location of an ancient cult of water worship, which were meant to promote milk production in pregnant women. An examination of the finds in 1939 estabilished that the Lattaia cave was frequented from the beginning of the mid paleolithic until the first Villanovian period (9th-10th century B.C.) and ultimately in Roman times as can be seen from a votive fireplace from the first century A.D.
Many other caves, forming the most important labyrinth of the whole of Mount Cetona, can be found at Belverde. Between 1928 and 1935 thirteen entrances were explored providing the most abundant documentation relating to the bronze age in central Italy.The search of the CAVE OF S.FRANCESCO produced particularly interesting results: here some fireplaces and vases with the burned remains of cereals and vegetables were discovered. Similar finds have been discovered in practically the whole area, some traced back to the RINALDONE culture (late bronze age) and the Appennine culture (bronze age). On higher levels concrete evidence of remains of the Musterian era were found. Numerous cuts in the rock visible mainly in the Belverde area, particularly near the so-called amphitheatre, are related to mining, probably roman.
This ancient community is at the same time a lively centre of contemporary life and has become, since the 1960s, a haunt of "VIPs" who have bought and renovated farm properties. The history of Cetona precedes the conflict between Siena and Orvieto, in the middle of the 13th century enjoying the assistance of Florence, and for a short time, in the 14th century, dominion by Perugia until cessession to the Republic of Siena in 1418. The Sienese nobility remained until the end of the Republic (mid-16th century) when the Grand Duke Cosimo I of the Medici conceded Cetona to the Marquis Chiappino Vitelli who trasformed the fortess into a residence and built the large town square (Piazza Garibaldi) where Palazzo Vitelli can still be seen. In 1772 Cetona became a Commune linked to Sarteano until 1840.
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