Certaldo is a town near Florence, located in the middle of Valdelsa. It is about 35 kilometres (22 miles), southwest of the Florence. It was the home of the family of Giovanni Boccaccio, poet of “Vita di Dante“, who died in his home in 1375. The town of Certaldo is divided into upper and lower parts. The lower part is called Certaldo Basso, whilst the medieval upper part is called Certaldo Alto. Certaldo Alto has a limited vehicular access and it is linked to Certaldo Basso by the Certaldo funicular. Main sights: on Certaldo Alto Boccaccio’s house and the Palazzo Pretorio, or Vicariale, the residence of the Florentine governors; on Certaldo Basso a statue of Boccaccio erected in the main square in 1875.
Historical artistic sites
Castello di Santa Maria Novella Show position
LOCATION: in an isolated position on the summit of a hill and near the road which goes from Montespertoli to Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, passing through Lucardo.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: this castle is mentioned in a notarial need of sale dated 1020 and in another of 1126 which declared the cession by Madonna Zibollina, the widow of Ridolfino of Catignano, to the Bishop of Florence.
In the 13th century the castle was property of Gianfigliazzi family, who in 1363 sold it to the Acciaiuoli family. There followed changes of ownership and modifications to the building without altering the ancient structure.
DESCRIPTION: the building is made of well prepared cut stone. At the centre there is a massive crenellated tower with four lateral towers in the comers.
In the large internal courtyard there is a church dedicated to Santa Maria Novella. Externally the complex is surrounded by a wall.
Pogni di Sopra Show position
LOCATION: in a somewhat external position, on the right of a local road that goes from Certaldo to Marcialla.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the houses which formed the first urban group were built in the 14th century, using material of the castle of Pogni, destroyed by the troops of the Emperor Enrico VII in 1312. The existence of Pogni di Sopra was confirmed in 1382 and, in the following centuries, it grew reaching today's dimensions.
DESCRIPTION: Pogni di Sopra is composed of a variety of different buildings of sandstone with battered walls (sloping), and others built more recently which have been plastered. At a cross road there is a large shrine with a ruined fresco of the Madonna.
San Lorenzo a Lucardo Show position
LOCATION: in an isolated position on the right of the road which links Certaldo to Fiano and beyond.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: church of the 10th century on an important road dedicated to San Leonardo. It was a wealthy church which contributed to the reconstruction of the city walls of Certaldo. In the fifteen hundreds it was restored by its owners, the Gianfigliazzi family and in the eighteen hundreds a portico was added to the facade.
DESCRIPTION: the church has a basilica in plan with three naves and three apses, externally decorated with false arches. The bell tower has been modified as well as facade by an addition of the above mentioned portico. Internally there is a small crypt and some interesting frescoes of the fourteen hundreds, attributed to Cenni di Francesco.
Calanchi Show position
LOCATION: almost at the centre of the area known as the "Calanchi" (badlands), on the right of the local road that goes from Pian Grande to the church of San Martino a Maiano and to San Gaudenzio a Ruballa.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: when the small urban centre known as "Calanchi" (steep clefts of scale like clay, eroded by water, forming deep gorges), came into existence, the surrounding country was not as dangerous as it is today, so that, in the fourteen hundreds, the church of Santa Maria at Casale (of Calanchi), was rated as a parish church and had an adequate income from the surrounding area. The houses around the church were gradually abandoned.
DESCRIPTION: the Casale of Calanchi looks like a large ruin in an advanced state of decay and destined to disappear in a not too far future. despite all this, the buildings, including the above mentioned church of Santa Maria a Casale, can still be recognized.
Torre di Pogni Show position
LOCATION: in an isolated and dominant position at the end of a rough track on the right of a more important road of which goes to Certaldo to Marcialla.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the tower of Pogni is the only surviving evidence of a castle of the same name which existed in the 10th century which was destroyed in 1312 after a series of events, by Emperor Enrico VII.
The material of this castle was used to build the village of Pogni di Sopra and the tower, for some unexplainable reason, still exists. even if in bad conditions.
DESCRIPTION: the tower of Pogni was built with squared, cut stone between and bricks. It has a horizontal, deep crack. Half of the entrance is still visible and what remains of the surroundings walls of the castle can be seen nearby.
Cappella di Le CaseShow position
LOCATION: in the village of Le Case on the local road which leads from Marcialla to Certaldo.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the first reference to Le Case was recorded in the 14th century, but the chapel was built in the sixteen hundreds by Anichini as a personal mausoleum.
About one hundred years later the chapel was lengthened using materials similar to those of the original construction. In the following years it was abandoned.
DESCRIPTION: a small religious building, with a rectangular plan and a apse, above the level of the road. It is made of river stones mixed with bricks. The rear part of the building has been clearly refaced.
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