Tuscan beautiful towns: “Certaldo”

Certaldo had Etruscan-Roman origins, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds scattered throughout the municipal area, such as pottery, tools and Etruscan tombs, some of which recently discovered.  The Etruscan origins are also evidenced by the toponymy of some places and waterways, such as the Agliena stream and the Elsa river that flow near Certaldo.

In particular, on the Poggio del Boccaccio, a trapezoidal shaped hill with elliptical base and completely flat top, adjacent to the medieval village in the north-west direction, were found during archaeological excavations in the late 1800s and in the mid-1900s, a Etruscan-Hellenistic chamber tomb with an ellipsoidal plan dating back to the end of the 4th-beginning of the 3rd century BC, and a well deposit of foodstuffs with some clay-like instruments dating back to the Hellenistic period. Most likely the area was home to a fine grain deposit from 300 BCE.

In other excavations, carried out between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries near another hill considered artificial, always adjacent to the medieval village but this time in the south-east direction, called Poggio delle Fate, an underground cell granary was found and the remains of an Etruscan burial mound and numerous stamped tiles,  while numerous ceramics dating back to the VI – V century BC until the Hellenistic age and fragments of boiled aretine pottery were found near the stream Agliena.

Some finds of Roman amphorae dating back to the Imperial era (1st century AD) in Piazza della Libertà, in the lower part of the city, during some construction works of 1960 for the construction of a secondary school, show that there were settlements in Roman times .

All these findings of Etruscan and Roman origin are now museumized on the ground floor of the Palazzo Pretorio, located in the medieval part of the town.

In all probability in the place where now stands Certaldo there was a small Etruscan settlement, probably an agricultural village, as evidenced by the deposits of foodstuffs in the hills adjacent to the village, while on the Poggio del Boccaccio was located the necropolis.

Monuments and places of interest

Certaldo alto seen from the Park of Canonica.
The most interesting part of the municipality is certainly Certaldo Alto. The main artistic and architectural feature that made it famous and famous in Europe is the perfect conservation of the medieval urban fabric with its narrow streets and small squares scattered here and there; if we exclude the renovation work that had as its object Palazzo Pretorio in the fifteenth century (works that transformed the old keep in the vicarial palace), we can say that Certaldo Alto has remained identical to how it developed in the Middle Ages.

Further evidence of this feature is the lack of a large square in the historic center, while in its place we find a long and wide street (via Boccaccio) that performed its functions, representing the public place of excellence and typically high-medieval conception . However who climbs in Certaldo Alto will find two squares: the first is Piazza della SS. Annunziata, created at the beginning of the nineteenth century by paving an area that was previously used for gardens and crops in general; the second, piazza SS. Jacopo and Filippo, in front of the homonymous church, was instead originally used as a cemetery of the convent until 1633.

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