Settlements already in Etruscan, the name Certaldo derives its name from the Latin cerrus altus, or from the Germanic cerrus aldo, both meaning “Hill covered with cash”. In 1164 the emperor Frederick Barbarossa the grants to the counts Alberti from Prato, who settled in what is today’s Palazzo Pretorio. From 1184 falls under the control of Florence. In Certaldo resides the family of Giovanni Boccaccio (1313 – 1375) which here lives at various times in the House that today is museum dedicated to the great writer and site of Ente Nazionale Giovanni Boccaccio.
The historic village, also known as “Castle”, is collected inside the walls on which open the ancient gates to the village: Porta Alberti, Porta al Sole and Porta al Rivellino. You can access the village going up the steep streets Costa Alberti called ancient and fascinating and Costa Vecchia, or by the more modern Via del Castello, or by the funicular that leaves from piazza Boccaccio.
Main feature of medieval villages, was the square, on which overlooked all the powers of the time: religious, political, civil, and commercial power. Certaldo developed on a hill from the elongated shape of ellipsoidal shape that left no room for piazza, whose function was assumed by the current Via Boccaccio on which in fact facing the Church, the Palace of power (Palazzo Pretorio) and Lodges (Palazzo Strozzi Ridolfi), closed today but still visible in the walls. The current spaces that we can identify with the squares at the time were not that vegetable gardens, which would serve to provide food to the population in case of siege.
Palazzo Pretorio, the most representative monument of Certaldo, was the ancient residence of the counts Alberti, built around the end of the 12th century on the ruins of the ancient houses of this family. Even today it is possible to visit the prisons, the audience Hall, the store, the Chapel and the private accommodation of vicars. On the façade and inside the Palace there are many coats of arms, each of which represents the image of the family of each Vicar who has ruled and lived. On the façade and inside the Palace there are many coats of arms, each of which represents the image of the family of each Vicar who has ruled and lived. In the building you can admire frescoes and sinopias from the 15th and 16th century. Adjacent to the Praetorian Palace you can visit the Church of Saint Thomas and Prospero, which dates from the early 13th century.