Certaldo is a beautiful and high interesting medieval town in the Chianti territory. It is located on one of the hills which origin the watershed between the Elsa valley and the Pesa valley. The municipality belongs to the province of Florence and is in a short distance time from San Gimignano.
The town is divided into two districts. The upper one, called Certaldo Alto or Rione Castello, is also the oldest one. It is located on the top of the hill and is surrounded by strengthening walls where the gorgeous medieval citadel is included. The lower one, called Certaldo Bassa, is more modern and is essentially the industrial and business centre of the town.
From Etruscan and Roman origin, in the 10th century AD Certaldo was a feudal castle under the control of the Alberti Counts. At the ending of the 12th century Count Alberto degli Alberti was incarcerated by the Florentines. Florence took the castle and after the destruction of the nearby Fortress of Semifonte (1202) the citadel also went into the territorial jurisdiction of Florence.
The 21st December 1375 died and was buried in Certaldo Giovanni Boccaccio who was born in Tuscany (?) the 16th June 1313. He was the illegitimate son of a Florentine banker (born in Certaldo) and a French unknown woman. Close friend of Petrarca, Boccacio is one of the greatest Renaissance humanist writers and poets. From his remarkable works we make stand out: The “Decameron”, “On Famous Women” and his poetry in vernacular language.
In the second decade of the 15th century the Florentines conceded to Certaldo the grade of Vicariate Capital of the Pesa valley. Therefore, the castle was made bigger and enclosed into rock-hard walls. The magnificent Palazzo Pretorio was erected in the same place where the former seat of the Counts of Alberti was been constructed.
In the second half of the 15th century Certaldo was assaulted and plundered by the troops of Fernando I, King of Naples, and the allied troops of Pope Sisto IV, both of them adherents to the Republic of Sienna. The town felt under the dominion of Sienna and afterwards passed under the jurisdiction of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. In both periods Certaldo was gradually social and economic increasing, most of all in Certaldo Bassa. Until then it had been only the market of Certaldo Alto.
Since the second half of the 19th century Certaldo is a prosperous industrial and agrarian centre.
Click here to see main monuments to visit in Certaldo:
Where to eat:
- “Osteria del Vicario” (Certaldo Alto): is a beautiful structure from the 13th century which hosts an exclusive restaurant with some amazing panoramic views and a lovely terrace for meals in season. It offers a refined Tuscan cuisine. Wine cellar contains an excellent selection of Chianti and Italian wines.
- “La Saletta” (Certaldo Alto): a small and charming restaurant which keeps an unbelievable selection of wines. The cuisine is creative based on ancient Tuscan recipes.
- “Trattoria C’era Una Volta”: located nearby Certaldo is a well-known trattoria and chateau. Its cuisine is specialized in Tuscan and Mediterranean traditional dishes. Its highlights are fried hors d’ouvres, polenta with aromatic herbs, fried fresh fish and tiny grilled lamb chops. Wine list is particularly good.
Where to sleep :
Hotels and B&B:
Main Towns of Chianti
Badia a Passignano,
Barberino val d' Elsa,
Castellina in Chianti,
Castello di Brolio,
Castello di Gabbiano,
Castello di Meleto,
Colle Val D' Elsa,
Greve in Chianti,
Mercatale Val di Pesa,
Panzano in Chianti,
Radda in Chianti,
Tavernelle Val di Pesa,
Badia a Coltibuono.
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