Castelfiorentino is a town in the Valdelsa, immersed in a countryside that welcomes visitors with its gentle landscape and rich historical-artistic heritage.
An important strategic position along the Via Francigena, the town was major Florentine fief beginning in 1149 and is known for being the location where the peace accord was settled after the Battle of Montaperti (1260). The town of Castelfiorentino developed into two centers during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, one downhill that was more modern, with the Church of Santa Verdiana and the namesake museum, and the upper part, much older, where the Civic Art Collection, known formally as the Raccolta Comunale d’Arte, and two fresco cycles by Benozzo Gozzoli are located, found in a new museum in the heart of the city, the Benozzo Gozzoli Museum, displaying frescoes and sinopie executed between 1484 and 1490. In the Castelfiorentino fresco cycle, the master, a student of Fra Angelico, proceeds with creating the sinopia and preliminary interventions to coat the fresco’s colours. His works in some of the smaller towns in the Valdelsa convey a popular archaism that nevertheless, in the best examples, permits him to cultivate an extraordinary poetic vein.
In the area around Castelfiorentino, a visit to the Chapel of the Madonna della Tosse, in Dogana, is highly recommended. Visitors can admire some of the aforementioned frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli. From here, the small but evocative village of Castelnuovo d’Elsa, an autonomous commune in the Middle Ages, is just a short journey away. The village is at the center of an area that still bears traces of an urbanized landscape, a typical result of the Tuscan agronomic culture of the 18th and 19th centuries, a major exponent of which was Cosimo Ridolfi, with his estate in Meleto.