Place to Visit
Certaldo is 6 Km away and a 10 minute drive from La certaldina . The village boasts Etruscan-Roman origins and is Giovanni Boccaccio’s birthplace. The village is divided into two parts: the most ancient and fascinating, Certaldo Alto, stands on top of a hill surrounded by well-preserved walls; at the foot of the hill stretches the modern part with a good variety of shops. Every year in July Certaldo Alto hosts the ’Mercantia’ which is one of the most popular street artists festival. Another important cultural, wine-and-food event is la Boccaccesca a representation of a medieval parade. Places to visit are the beautiful Palazzo Pretorio, Boccaccio’s house and Palazzo Giannozzi.
Florence is about 39 km and a 45 minute drive from La Certaldina it is reachable also by train. The visitor to Florence should see first of all "Galleria degli Uffizi" which contains one of the greatest collections of works of art in the world. Next to "Galleria degli Uffizi" is "Palazzo Vecchio" with its monumental buildings rich in frescos, antique furnishings, paintings and tapestry.
You can’t miss "il Battistero", il "bel San Giovanni di Dante" with its wonderful golden doors by Ghiberti.
Next to it is the "Duomo" or "Santa Maria del Fiore" a huge building started by Arnolfo di Cambio. On the right of the Duomo is the Bell-Tower started by Giotto and after his death continued by Andrea Pisano and by Francesco Talenti.
The most famous square "Piazza della Signoria" with the superb "Palazzo Vecchio", home of the town hall, is a must to visit. On its right are the arches of the magnificent "Loggia dei Lanzi". The square also has many statues, one of the most famous is "Perseus" by Benvenuto Cellini, it is an open air museum. The Academy Gallery houses some of the most famous works of Michelangelo including "David" and paintings by Florentine artists. One of the most important and largest Florentine palace is "Palazzo Pitti" which includes "Galleria Palatina" a gallery of modern art .
At the back of Palazzo Pitti is one of the most famous and beautiful Italian gardens "Boboli Garden" with statues, fountains and extremely rare vegetation.
Some of the best known churches are "Santa Croce" (with tombs of great Italian artists), "Santa Maria Novella", "San Miniato al Monte" and "Santo Spirito". Finally , do not miss "Piazzale Michelangelo" where you can enjoy the best view of Florence.
Is 33 km away and about a 35 minute drive from La Certaldina. Monteriggioni Castle gives the impression that time has stood still inside and outside the circle of its walls. It is one of the most classic and popular Italian walled villages. The walls, nearly intact, cover a length of 570 meters and are alternated by 14 towers and two gates.
Is 24 Km away and about a 35 minute drive from La Certaldina The village hosts an international pottery Festival, with exhibitions of local hand-made goods, featuring also historical reconstructions, shows and representations of historical events. The Museo Archeologico della Ceramica houses archaeological findings dating back from Prehistory to the Middle Ages.
Vinci is well known as the birth place of Leonardo Da Vinci. The village is 35 Km away and about a 50 minute drive from La Certaldina .
Places to visit: the castle of the Counts Guidi it hosts the Museo Leonardiano, a real must-see housing one of the largest and most original collections of machines and models by Leonardo and the Biblioteca Leonardiana an institution specialising in the work of Leonardo da Vinci . In Anchiano, about 3 kilometres from Vinci, you find Leonardo’s birth house a natural appendix to the museum.
San Gimignano is the most characteristic and famous village in the Tuscan countryside it is situated 15 Km away, about a 20 minute drive from La Certaldina. With its towers, San Gimignano is one of the most visited Tuscan villages. It is rich in pottery and alabaster shops but also in churches and museums housing extraordinary works of art by Florentine and Sienese artists. The main square, Piazza della Cisterna owes its name to the big travertine cistern decorated with the coat of arms of Podestà Malavolti. Places to visit: numerous palaces and towers, including Palazzo Cortesi-Lolli, Palazzo Lupi and the Torre del Diavolo which dominate the square. A must is to eat the much awarded ice-cream in Piazza della Cisterna and taste also the proverbial Vernaccia di San Gimignano ice cream.
Situated about 39 km away and a 40 minute drive from La Certaldina, it is a medieval town which has reached the present day intact. All kinds of tourist
love this town for its beauty and for the richness of its artistic works of art. Piazza del Campo, or the Campo as it is more simply
known, is the meeting point of the three hills on which the town is built. The piazza, one of the most beautiful in the world hosts the famous "Palio of Siena" horserace.
Places to see: the Palazzo Pubblico , which is one of the most elegant buildings in Tuscany and one of the very best examples of Gothic architecture.
The Cathedral of Siena is one of the purest jewels of Italian art. The facade is a Gothic masterpiece with sculptures, columns, mosaics and pinnacles. It also gives host the Piccolomini altar with sculptures by Michelangelo, the chapel of Saint John the Baptist with a fresco by Pinturicchio and a statue by Donatello, the Piccolomini bookshop with frescoes by Pinturicchio and the floor with 46 inlaid tiles.
The Cathedral Museum houses the Majesty by Duccio di Buoninsegna and the most important collection of statues by Giovanni Pisano.
The National Picture Gallery offers a complete picture of the Sienese school of painting.
The most important churches to visit are the Basilica of San Francesco, the Basilica of Sant’Agostino, Santa Maria dei Servi, the Church of Santa Maria della Scala and San Domenico, with the adjacent house of Santa Caterina. For sweet lovers taste the "Ricciarelli" and the " Panforte", exquisite homemade artisan sweets.
Colle Val d’Elsa
The so-called City of Crystal is 26 Km away and a 30 minute drive from La Certaldina. It is divided into two parts, the ancient Colle Val d’Elsa which stands on top of a hill full of monuments and palaces. At the foot of the same hill stretches the most modern part of the town, with Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio at the centre. At present, 90% of Italian crystal glassware, appreciated both in Italy and abroad, is produced in Colle Val d’ Elsa.
San Miniato is a town of Etruscan-Roman origins situated about 30 km away and a 45 minute drive from La Certaldina. Its historical centre and the panoramic Rocca di Federico II are well worth a visit.
San Miniato is also called the town of truffle. The excellent San Miniato white truffle is a very rare, well renowned and appreciated variety of truffle, which has been given various quality awards. The National San Miniato White Truffle Trade Fair takes place in San Miniato in the last three weekends in November. The fair offers the opportunity to taste and buy the valuable tubers and other culinary specialities of the area and of other Italian town.
About 80 Km away and a 45 min drive from the La Certaldina". The city spreads out over the two sides of the River Arno. Places to visit are Piazza dei Miracoli where the beautiful cathedral is situated and of course the world renowned leaning tower declared one of the seven wonders of the world.
44 Km away and a 59 minute drive from La Certaldina, it is a jewel of Etruscan, Roman, medieval and Renaissance art and dominates the whole valley of the river Cecina up to the sea.
Immersed in a unspoilt landscape, Volterra is a town on a human scale renowned all over the world for its craftsmen working alabaster. The town is rich in Etruscan and more modern monuments and works of art which are to be admired while simply strolling in its historical centre or in the Museo Etrusco, the Pinacoteca Civica and the Museo di Arte Sacra.
To be admired also is the widespread archaeological excavation area just outside the medieval city walls where there is the Roman theatre dating back to the 1st century BC.
A day at the beach
If you would like to jump into the sea, the closest beach is Cecina , 80 Km from La certaldina, not suitable for children as the water is too deep. For children is is recommended Marina di Castagneto with crystal clear sea water and water sports such as sailing and wind surf. A little more south of Marina there is San Vincenzo a cute town with a romantic port.
A place to visit is also the village of Bolgheri , about 20 minutes from Marina where there are excellent top class Bolgheri wines to be tasted, such as Sassicaia.
A day in the heart of Chianti
Chianti is one of the most famous places in Tuscany and appreciated by visitors from around the world. We suggest doing this tour on a sunny day as you
will drive through beautiful country roads, past long rows of vines and olive groves that seem designed by an artist. .
Along the scenic road of Badia as a first destination you can visit the Abbey of San Michele Arcangelo in Badia a Passignano, the monastery of the Congregation of Vallombrosa located in the hills of the Chianti region. Here there is the Restaurant "La Scuderia" where they do a great pizza and other Tuscan specialties and you can enjoy all of this on the terrace with fantastic view.
Continue along the country roads in the direction of Greve in Chianti and a few kilometres along the dirt road, you come across the small village of Montefioralle.
Once you are in Greve in Chianti, (the front door of Chianti), you can admire the famous and particular square which since the Middle Ages was the favorite place of the inhabitants of villages, farms and neighbouring castles to occupy as the "market": a triangular shape it is bordered on three sides by wide porches, in the centre there is the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano who discovered the Bay of New York.
Under the arcades, you can taste many typical products and wines of the area and there is the famous Ancient Falorni Butcher that only offers traditional Chianti meat. A few steps from the square there is the Wine Museum.
A few kilometres to the south we find the ancient village of Panzano in Chianti where you can stroll and linger in the main square for a glass of wine at a wine bar or enjoy the "Fiorentina" steak in the famous Butcher Cecchini, which is cut while "Cecchini" recites the verses of the Divine Comedy by Dante.
Continuing to Radda in Chianti, another small medieval town, you can visit the Palazzo del Podesta with the Romanesque church of St. Nicholas.
Near there be sure to visit the Castello di Volpaia, an ancient fortified village, where it is interesting to visit the cellar, book in advance. Also the small fortified village of Badia a Coltibuono a former monastery transformed into a farm.
Worth visiting is the impressive Castello di Brolio a few kilometres from Gaiole, which dominates the southern valleys of the Chianti Classico, positioned high on a lonely hill it has Lombard origins and belongs to the important Tuscan family of the Ricasoli. If you wish to visit there are 3 tours, we recommend "the classic tour" that is a visit without a guide to the Italian gardens where you can enjoy an exceptional view. The three tours include wine tasting at the wine cellar inside. On the way back you can stop in Castellina in Chianti with its imposing fortress which dominates the central plaza and the Via delle Volte running through the village which offers a marvellous view.
Before returning to "La Certaldina" you can stop in Barberino Val d’Elsa, a medieval village surrounded by green hills. The history of Barberino is linked to the city of Semifonte: in fact it is said that the stones of the walls of Semifonte were used to build the walls of Barberino. It is interesting the story of Semifonte a fortified city which in the twelfth century became the opponent of Florence. Being now one of the most important centers of Val d’Elsa, the clash with the Florentine republic was inevitable and in 1202 it was razed. The Florentines also forbade the construction of any building except for the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo built in the late ’500. In Barberino the restaurant "Il Campanellino" is recommended for its delicious Tuscan dishes served on a panoramic terrace.