When you’re exploring Tuscany to the southwest of Florence, the old town of Certaldo in Tuscany, known as Certaldo Alto, is definitely worth a visit. This is the hometown of Boccaccio, author of the Decameron and contemporary of Petrarch, and it retains much of its mediaeval architecture and charm. Boccaccio’s house for the last years of his life is now a museum where early editions of his works are on display.
Certaldo is also home to one of the best street festivals in Europe, the Mercantia, which takes place in mid-July and features dozens of performers along the few streets of the town and also inside the courtyards, where stages are set up to host clowns and comedians, contortionists and acrobats, puppeteers and ventriloquists, magicians and illusionists, fire-eaters and dancers, actors and street musicians.
You can best reach Certaldo old town by funicular from the more modern part of Certaldo in the valley below.