CERTALDO16.000 inhabitants.The town is located near the Elsa river on the SS 429, one of the main localstreets.It is divided into two parts, the walled medieval village and the modern town.The ancient part dominates a hill, that is the reason why it is called CertaldoAlto (alto meaning high). Here stands the imposing Palazzo Comunale or Palazzo Pretorio, the town hall.Etruscan remains were found around the modern town, supposedly built inthe 18th century.The Mastio is a perfect example of Lombard – gothic fortress. Today thebuilding can be visited passing through the Palazzo del Vicario but, since inancient times it was only used as an ammunition dump, it was isolated. Then,houses and towers were built all around, giving shape to the fortified castle.Since the 17th century the fortess had belonged to the Alberti family, but in1184 it fell under control of Florence. So, the Alberti decided to destroy thewhole property and undergo the invasion.The Via Francigena and the Palazzo del Vicario (the Vicar’s seat) helped thefortress to develop; the defensive walls were enlarged and the three gates wecan still admire were created (Porta Alberti, Porta del Sole and Porta alRivellino).Certaldo became the most important town in the area; in fact, access tohealth, education and justice was guaranteed.In the 18th century the modern town started to develop on the Via Francigena,all around Piazza Boccaccio. During World War II Certaldo underwentheavy bombing and even the former house of Boccaccio was partiallydestroyed.Giovanni Boccaccio was a famous writer who was born and died inCertaldo. In the 19th century his house was bought by Maria Loretta Medici,because she was a real admirer of the poet.

Major events in Certaldo:

Mercantia: people coming from all over Italy and Europe come to attend thisfour-day medieval festival which takes place every July both in the ancientand in the modern part of Certaldo. Street artists and different stalls animatelanes and squares. It is really spectacular!

Boccaccesca: it is a food and wine festival organised by Slow Food.(http://www.slowfood.it/)
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