Certaldo is a town of about 16,000 inhabitants located in Tuscany, in the heart of the Valdelsa. The village stands near the Elsa river, which is one of the tributaries of the Arno. The country is made up of two distinct parts. The first is the medieval part, called Certaldo Alto. The upper part of Certaldo can be reached by car or by using the funicular railway that can take you into the main town square. Certaldo Alto is on a hill and has many buildings of the historical and artistic interest.
A lower part which is more modern, is laid out under the hill, in the plains and dates back to 1700.
What to see in Certaldo
From touristic point of view, we should start the discovery of the particularities of Certaldo from its upper part. The urban fabric of the town has been preserved to perfection, so much so that according to history scholars, this part of the city has remained completely identical to how it was in the Middle Ages.
The religious architecture which should definitely be visited is the Church of Saints Philip and James, built in the XIII century, in the typical Romanesque style. Inside the remains of Boccaccio and of the Blessed Giulia Della Rena are preserved.
Not far away there is the Church of St. Thomas which was built in 1885. Here a crucifix of the XIV century is preserved.
In the Castle of Certaldo we can find the former Church of Saints Thomas and Prospero, which still houses some extremely important frescoes. Among the churches to visit in Certaldo we cannot forget the Virgin of Mercy Church and the Parish of San Lazzaro in Lucardo, mentioned in some writings as early as the X century.
Among the civil architecture you cannot miss visiting the Palace of Stiozzi Rioldi, located in the old castle which houses two towers. The entire structure was built in the fourteenth century and is one of the oldest buildings in Certaldo.
The Giannozzi Palace is another important stop in Certaldo, because it was designed Renaissance structures, some dating back to 1300. The heart of the city is, however, the Praetorian Palace, which now contains shields that belonged to the Vicars. There are several well preserved paintings of world importance. It is worth remembering the Boccaccio’s House, which overlooks the street and today holds an old library.
Finally, during your visit to Certaldo you do not forget to see the Palace of Machiavelli, built in the thirteenth century. An example of a Medieval Noble Residence, Machiavelli’s Palace still houses a high tower. Among the other historical monuments to visit in Certaldo there are the Walls of Certaldo, the Door to Salote, Porta al Rivellino and the Bastion of Praetorian Palace. Not very far from the city you can also see the Santa Maria Novella Castle.
How to reach Certaldo from Florence?
To reach Certaldo from Florence take the freeway “Florence-Pisa-Livorno”, exit in the direction of the provincial road 80 Del Virginio and follow the signs for the center of Certaldo. Otherwise, there are trains departing from Santa Maria Novella station, or use the buses that depart from the central bus station in Florence.