Certaldo is placed beetween Florence and Siena, just 13 kms from San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany.
Certaldo, former's seat of Florence deputy, or Vicariate of the Valdelsa, is synonymous with Giovanni Boccaccio, who spent the last 13 years of his life up in the old town, known as Certaldo Alto, which could be a set for the "Decameron" itself ( don't confuse it with the ugly sprawl of the new town at the bottom of the hill ).
Everything in the old town is of good, honest brick, from the pavements to the palazzi, of which the most striking is the 14 th - century castellated Palazzo Pretorio , studded with the arms of the former vicars. Inside it has a beautiful courtyard and museum ( open summer daily 10-7,00, winter Tuesday-Sunday 10,30-4,30 ) containing Etruscan artefacts, frescoes and, in the annexed church and cloister, Benozzo Gozzoli's "Tabernacle of the Punished". The walls of the old jail bear the forlorn graffiti of past prisoners.
The house traditionally associated with Certaldo's great author is the Casa di Boccaccio, on via Boccaccio 18, which has beeen restored and is now the seat of the International Centre of Boccaccio Studies ( open April-Sept daily 10-7,00 ). Boccaccio died here in 1375 and lies buried in the church Santi Michele ed Iacopo, under an epitaph he penned himself; a 16 th -century monument erected in his honour was destroyed by prudes in 1783. Boccaccio himself, in his later years, regretted the racy frivolity of his most famous book, wishing he had spent his time on serious Latin works - not a regret too many people have ever shared. From Certaldo you can follow a pretty road to the South which leads to San Gimignano, about 13 km away.