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The medieval village of Certaldo and the festival of Mercantia

Certaldo is a quaint medieval village located in the Tuscan countryside, a short distance from Siena, San Gimignano, and our country hotel Casolare Le Terre Rosse.

It is one of the most evocative places in Tuscany, where time seems to have stopped. It is divided into two areas Certaldo Basso, the more modern part, and Certaldo Alto, the old town enclosed by medieval walls. The most ancient part of the village can be reached on foot, by car or by taking the funicular from Certaldo Basso.


What to see in Certaldo

Certaldo is famous for being the birthplace of Italian writer Giovanni Boccaccio, the author of the Decameron. In fact, it is possible to visit the Tuscan writer's house in the upper part of the village, now converted into a museum, where you can admire old furnishings, a study center, and a valuable library that preserves several editions of the Decameron. Since 2007 it has also been possible to climb the house tower from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding area.

Palazzo Pretorio - also known as Palazzo dei Vicari - is the most representative monument in Certaldo. The building dates back to the 12th century and houses important works of art such as a Crucifixion from 1478, a Madonna and Child, and a Pietà by Pier Francesco Fiorentino. Instead, the coats of arms adorning the facade are attributed to the Florentine Della Robbia and Buglioni workshops.

Also not to be missed are the Church of Saints Thomas and Prospero (adjacent to the Praetorian Palace), the Museum of Sacred Art, and the Romanesque Church of Saints Jacopo and Filippo, inside which is the tomb of Giovanni Boccaccio.


The Mercantia Festival

The best time to visit Certaldo is undoubtedly the month of July. Every year, this medieval town hosts Mercantia, a fantastic festival dedicated to theater and street arts.

Many people from all over Italy gather in Certaldo to watch the various scheduled performances, admire live craftsmanship and observe art installations. The event is divided into real thematic mini-festivals attended by international artists from the world of theater and beyond. There are also jugglers, fakirs, fire-eaters, colorful music bands, and exhibition organizers. Mercantia is an all-around art festival.


The 2022 edition: The Voice of the Moon

This year, Certaldo is once again ready to host the new edition of the Fourth Theater Festival.

From July 13 to 16, after a two-year stop due to the pandemic, Mercantia will return to enliven the streets of the medieval village with a tribute to Dante Alighieri - 700 years after his death - and to Giulietta Masina, the actress who starred in the film "La strada," on the centenary of her birth.

With this 34th edition, we will also witness the conclusion of the "Mysteries & Drolls" project, created to launch cooperation in the field of research, training, and experimentation in a European and intercultural key on the forms and languages of medieval theater and jester arts and co-financed by the European Union's Creative Europe program.

If you still have no plans for July, visit the medieval village of Certaldo for the 2022 edition of Mercantia. We at Hotel Casolare Le Terre Rosse are waiting for you to stay immersed in the Tuscan countryside and surrounded by the warmth of our staff for a vacation in a place that feels like home.

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