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Towns of the area

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Certaldo

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Inhabitants in 1991: 15.942

The Municipal territory of Certaldo extends for 75,24 square kilometres on the hills which form the watershed between the Val d'Elsa and the Val di Pesa. It had origins as a feudal castle and then municipality of a Podesta and Vicariate Seat until 1774 when it was made community with the Leopoldina reform.

Certaldo, one of the major centres of the Val d'Elsa originated towards the X century. It was feudal castle of the Alberti Counts and the first document which mentions it explicitly, a certificate by Federico Barbarossa, is in 1164; in 1184 Count Alberto degli Alberti imprisoned by the Fiorentini after the destruction of the Pogna Castle, committed himself, in exchange for his freedom, to knock down the tower of Certaldo ceding to Firenze the high dominion of the castle and reserving for himself only the tributes and alodial assets. But the definitive collapse for the Alberti Counts came soon after with the fall of Semifonte (1202): Certaldo also became incorporated in the Fiorentino county, becoming Seat of a Podesta and in 1415 finally Firenze made it Vicariate Capital of the Val di Pesa and of part of the Val d'Elsa and Valdarno Inferiore (1415); it is noted that from 1400 the castle was enlarged in accordance with its importance, it surrounded itself with solid walls, and raised the imposing Palazzo Pretorio on the place where in ancient times the residence of the Alberti Counts was sited.
In 1479 it was sacked by the soldiers of the King of Napoli and Pope Sisto IV, allied to Siena, but with the last republic and with the Grand Duchy it had a way of further developing, above all in the lower section called "village" born in ancient times as the Castle's market.
In 1784 Pietro Leopoldo suppressed the Vicariate, uniting it to that of San Miniato; in consequence of the decadence which then followed, the municipality managed to raise itself again only in the second half of the 1800s. During the second world war, between 1943 and 1944, it suffered losses and severe destruction. Postwar Certaldo rapidly recovered becoming an industrious agricultural and industrial centre. Famous locally is Giovanni Boccaccio, probably born in Firenze but of descendent from Certaldo who died here in 1375.

Places to visit:
Palazzo Stiozzi Ridolfi, of XIII century with an elegant courtyard with portico.
Palazzo Giannozzi, with 1300 and Renaissance structure
Palazzo Pretorio, only the keep remains from the original XII century structure, while the present day building is of 1400s the facade is enriched with heraldic shields.
Casa del Boccaccio, preserves few traces of the original Medieval structure. It was reconstructed in style after the bombardments of the last war.
Ss. Jacopo and Filippo, a convent complex with a small brick church from the 1200s.

Historical info reproduced upon authorization of Regione Toscana - Dipartimento della Presidenza E Affari Legislativi e Giuridici
Picture by Sandro Santioli
Translated by Ann Mountford


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