Montespertoli is an Italian town near Florence in Tuscany. It is part of the valley of Elsa river located about 20 kilometres (14 miles), Southwest of Florence. The presence of human settlements in the area of Montespertoli dates bak to Roman and Etruscan times, although the villages of the modern municipality are know from the 11th century, when San Piero in Mercato and Lucardo are mentioned. In 1393 the borough of Montespertoli was acquired by the Machiavelli family. Main sights: church of Saint Andrea in Montespertoli (16 century), housing fragments (12 century), of a baptismal font from Saint Maria a Coeli Aula and a “Madonna with Saints II" attributed to Niccolò di Pietro Gerini.
Historical artistic sites
Castello di SonninoShow position
LOCATION: the castle is in via Volterrana Nord at the entrance to the to the town in a panoramic position.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the Castello di Sonnino consists of a 17th century mansion and a fortified tower whose origins are dated in the 13th century.
Over time the entire property belonged to various powerful local dynasties, until the early 19th century when it came into the hands of the Sonnino family. The minister Sidney Sonnino lived here for a long time and King Umberto I, Vittorio Emanuele III, Gabriele D’Annunzio and Giovanni Giolitti were just some of the illustrious guests who stayed here in the early years of the 20th century.
DESCRIPTION: composed of a number of architectural structures its oldest parts are tower and the chapel.
The castle also contains the historical archive of Sidney Sonnino which is a mine of information about the 19th century Italy: correspondence, economic studies, projects, iconographic mementoes and documents relating to the Foreign Office during the First World War.
San Giusto a MontalbinoShow position
LOCATION: in the midst of a group of dwellings, the small urban area of Montalbino, on the road that goes from Montespertoli to Lucardo passing through San Piero in Mercato.
The place name “Montalbino” is derived from two latin words “mons” and “albino”, the components of the Albino family, the owners of the property.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the church existed in the 13th century and continued to work for several centuries, although it continued to deteriorate architecturally. From the sixteen hundreds, it was substantially restored.
DESCRIPTION: the 16th century restoration is evident in the facade made of stone and brick which has a central doorway which has been built recently, and another which is asymmetric which has been bricked up and dates back to the medieval period. Neither the rose window nor the upper brickwork of the facade are original. The side wall of the building faces onto a steeply descending road, made of stone with a doorway giving access to a crypt.
Madonna del Buon ConsiglioShow position
LOCATION: in an isolated position on the right side of the road which leads from Montespertoli to Lucardo, passing the Castello di Aliano.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the sanctuary was built in the sixteen hundreds for religious purposes, in an area known as Corfecciano, probably an ancient curtis of Roman origin.
DESCRIPTION: a large building with plastered walls and portico supported by four stone columns.
The plan is a Latin cross with three apses at the end of each arm. On the right of an apse there is a small cemetery, on the left a tall and slender bell tower with a pyramidal roof.
Lucardo Show position
LOCATION: in a panoramic position on the top of a hill and a short distance from the road that goes from Montespertoli to Certaldo passing through Fiano.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the first information regarding Lucardo are dated 957 and 1093. It was seriously damaged in 1260 by the Sienese Ghibellines and in 1312 by the troops of the Emperor Enrico VII. Lucardo was rebuilt and for a brief period in 1327 and Certaldo contributed to the costs of the damages it had received. Thereafter the life of this small urban seems to have been calm and uneventful.
DESCRIPTION: the group of buildings forming Lucardo are protected by a surrounding wall in which there is an ancient doorway framed in stone. The town has a piazza in the form of an irregular polygon surrounded by houses, almost all built with stone and river stone.
Castello di Poppiano Show position
LOCATION: in a dominant position in relation to the existing buildings, on a local road which joins two important roads, one known as San Quirico in Collina and the other Baccaiano.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the first records of this Castello di Poppiano date back to the 11th century when it was the property of the Counts Alberti.
Thereafter it became the property of the Gherardini family who were its owners for a long period maintenance the building in good condition. It was severely damaged during an earthquake at the beginning of the eighteen hundreds and then it was restored several times.
DESCRIPTION: the castle is surrounded by tall trees which are unable to hide its imposing building and the central tower. One gains access to the interior by passing through a large doorway with a flat arch above, framed in pietra serena.
The Guelph battlements which are at the top of the castle and tower, are characteristic.
San Piero in Mercato Show position
LOCATION: in an isolated position on the road which links Montespertoli and Castelfiorentino passing through Gigliola and Campoleo.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE: the church was already in existence in the 10th century near a famous market and in an area inhabited for thousands of years which was crossed by one of the important Etruscan highways.
According to several documents, it is possible that a baptistery existed there, but today has disappeared beneath the church.
DESCRIPTION: the facade of the church has been recently restored; at the rear there are three apses; on the right there is a bell tower dating back to before the year 1000.
Internally the church is divided into three naves ending with apses; it has an interesting six side baptismal font made of marble.
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