Certaldo On The Road - Hostel in Europe
Stepping out of the big Italian cities and into the Tuscan countryside can
be likened to the Renaissance itself. It is a kind of re-birth; an emergence
from the busy womb of hustle-bustle into a spacious and fresh world of
rolling hills awash with all the colours of the rainbow.
In the geographical heart of Tuscany, within one hour of tourist giants
Florence, Pisa, and Siena, lies the small town of Certaldo. It presents a
scenic location amongst farms that produce Italy's internationally renowned
Chainti wines and top shelf olive oil. A town as yet unblemished by hordes
of tourists, Certaldo is the perfect place to base yourself for day trips to
these popular cities as well as other local and 'truly Tuscan' highlights.
The old town of Certaldo Alto has Etruscan origins, dating back long before
the birth of Christ. Today, its well preserved 12th century architecture
offers the handful of tourists who visit the chance to wander undisturbed
around quaint medieval streets and savour fantastic panoramic views across
the countryside. The Palazzo Pretorio, with its richly decorated façade,
regularly provides the backdrop for cultural performances thoughout the
summer months. Theatre and live music concerts are frequent, as are food and
wine events, complete with locals dressed in traditional village costumes.
The town's biggest festival, Mercantia, is held annually in mid-July, and
draws around 30,000 people from all over Europe. It's a kind of 'fringe
festival' comprising one week of acts by various genre of entertainers
including musicians, comics, puppeteers, dancers and circus acrobats.
By car, bicycle, or on foot from Certaldo there are an abundant array of
opportunities to experience typical Tuscan delights. Stop in at a vineyard
for wine tastings, hike or ride a bike to the beautiful medieval village of
San Gimignano, visit nearby ceramic, alabaster or crystal workshops, or even
take a Tuscan cooking class to learn the secrets to the local cuisine.
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