Certaldo: Boccaccio’s birthplace

certaldo-centro-storicoThe town of Certaldo is located in province of Firenze, just 13 kilometers from San Gimignano. Located in the heart of the Valdelsa this small municipality of just over 16,000 inhabitants, it is the birthplace of Giovanni Boccaccio, one of the most important poets of Italian literature.

The history of Certaldo

The Etruscan origin of this small center  is demonstrated by archaeological findings which have unearthed the remains of this civilization including tombs, pottery and tools of everyday life. The history of this small center continues during the Middle Ages when the first fortifications were built: one of them, the Mastio, can be seen even today, inbuilt  within  the present Palazzo del Vicario.

certaldo-medieval-townMuch of the city development was due to the Via Francigena who was passing not far from the village. Most likely Giovanni Boccaccio was born here in 1313 although there are no official news in this sense: what is certain is that the creator of the Decameronlived in Certaldo the last years of his life and died there in 1375.

Lovely to visitthe small village of Certaldo Alto has maintained its conformation characterized by medieval alleys and squares. Very few have been the renovations in this part of the town which now seems likely to be similar to how it looked during the Middle Ages

certaldo-boccaccio-townDefinitely to see the Church of Saints Philip and James which preserves the remains of Giovanni Boccaccio, the emblem of Certaldo. Another symbol of the city is  Palazzo Pretorio, which was built in the twelfth century as the residence of the Counts Alberti. This building was one of the few to be renovated throughout the centuries after its creation. Today, worth a visit especially for some valuable pieces of art contained within it, for the prisons and the splendid garden in the ancient courtyard.

certaldo-town-of-boccaccioNot to be missed, of course, the home of Boccaccio, located along the main street of this Tuscan village. Here the poet spent the last years of his life: part of the building is now a study center, a museum and a library dedicated to the great  Tuscan poet.

Palazzo Stiozzi Ridolfi instead dates from the fourteenth century and constitutes a considerable portion of the village. It includes a building and two towers as well as a charming interior courtyard, which impresses with its structure that once was destined, in all probability, to the city market.