“Certaldo, as perchance you may have heard, is a town of Val d’Elsa within our country-side, which, small though it is, had in it aforetime people of rank and wealth.”
(Decameron, sixth day, novel X, translation by J.M. Rigg, London, 1920)
Right in the center of the Elsa Valley just a few miles from Florence, Siena and Pisa lies the enchanting town of Certaldo.
Certaldo has two very distinct characters called “Certaldo Basso”and “Certaldo Alto”. There is the modern version of the city “Certaldo Basso”, located down in the valley, made of contemporary residential neighbourhoods and thriving economic activities. Then there is “Certaldo Alto”, at the top of the hill, the old-world Tuscan hamlet of quaint narrow lanes, fortified medieval towers and red brick walls.
Giovanni Boccaccio, the famous 14thC Italian poet who wrote the Decameron, lived in Certaldo for a good part of his life and is buried in the town’s Church of San Giacomo and Filippo. Visitors can explore the Casa Boccaccio museum (Boccaccio’s Home) and the Ente Nazionale Boccaccio, a research institution entirely dedicated to this literary genius’ works.
In the heart of the old center, there are many monuments and historic buildings to visit that also offer splendid views over the valley. The civic center, dominated by the Palazzo Pretorio (Vicar’s Palace) is rich in local government history. Nearby, the Church of San Tommaso and Prospero houses the splendid “Tabernacolo dei Giustiziati” (Tabernacle of the Executed) painted by the Florentine Renaissance artist Benozzo Gozzoli and the altar dedicated to the local saint the Blessed Giulia Della Rena. The city boasts three perfectly-preserved medieval town gates that still connect the old town center with the modern part of Certaldo.
Visitors passionate about historical towns who want to experience the atmosphere of the middles ages enjoy their time in Certaldo and continue to visit year after year.
Certaldo is waiting for you!