THE BEAUTIFUL CERTALDO IN VALDELSA

The beautiful town of Certaldo (Firenze province) in Valdelsa is of Etruscan-Roman origin, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds scattered throughout the city, such as pottery, tools and Etruscan tombs. Certaldo has two centres, the older one rising on high land (Certaldo Alto or Rione Castello), and the other lying below (Certaldo Basso or Borgo).

The clearly medieval Rione Castello is the most important part of Certaldo, and contains a number of significant buildings, such as the Casa del Boccaccio (Giovanni Boccaccio’s house) where the great storyteller is believed to have born in 1313 and died in 1375. Certaldo is mentioned by Boccaccio in the Decameron: «Certaldo, come voi forse avete potuto udire, è un castello di Val d'Elsa posto nel nostro contado, il quale, quantunque picciol sia, già di nobil uomini e d'agiati fu abitato» (Decameron VI,10). Palazzo Pretorio rises on the remains of the ancient castle. It is the symbol of Certaldo and the most important building of the medieval town of Rione Castello; originally this was the castle of the counts Alberti in the XII C. along with the nearby Church of Saints Tommaso and Prospero, where you will find a cycle of frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli (1466-67), and now part of a unique museum. Palazzo Pretorio also houses the old and cramped prisons. Palazzo Stiozzi Ridolfi occupies an entire city block in the old castle, consisting of a palace, two towers that overlook respectively Costa Alberti and via Boccaccio, and a large inner courtyard with loggia, brick columns and capitals in tuff. The building dates back to the XIV C. and probably the inner loggia housed the market. The simple Church of Saints Jacopo and Filippo is a Romanesque building of the XIII C. which houses a cloister and the Museum of Sacred Art. Inside are the remains of Boccaccio and Beata Giulia dalla Rena.

Many the events of Certaldo which are worth to experience. Among them "Mercantia", the International Festival of Street Theatre which takes place every year in the month of July. The Festival is now known at European level and offers performances of theater, dance, music and crafts through the streets and squares of the medieval part of the village Certaldo Alto. Or "Boccaccesca", taking place in October, a gastronomic exhibition of local products. The event takes place in the streets, squares and gardens of the old town with food stands, delicious tastings and cooking classes.

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