Barberino Val d'Elsa
Barberino Val d'Elsa, nearby Florence, is an ancient medieval village built as a consequence of the destruction of Semifonte, an old and glorious town in the same area. Barberino became extremely important thanks to the Strada Regia Romana, that linked Firenze to Rome and used to be a vital connection for the Tuscan commerce and pilgrimages. For that reason, in 1365, it was built the "Spedale dei Pellegrini" (Pilgrim's Hospital) that nowadays is one of the main tourist attractions in Barberino.
The village has not changed the ancient structure throughout the centuries. The urban map has kept indeed the medieval elliptical shape, with two main gates: the Roman one has not been damaged at all by the time and the Florentine one, which has been almost totally rebuilt. You will admire numerous XV century coats of arms over the imposing façade of Palazzo Pretorio, as testimony of the noble origins of the town.
As mentioned above, Barberino Val d'Elsa was built on the remains of Semifonte, a small, but bold country town that dared to challenge Florence. In 1202 Semifonte was ferociously razed to the ground by the Florentine army. Florence even tried to cancel its memory, enacting an edict in order to prevent the birth of a new village over the old one.
Today you can admire a gorgeous dome built on the remains of Semifonte, which is identical to the one built by Brunelleschi, but five times smaller. In Sant'Appiano you will find one of the most ancient Tuscan parish churches.
Barberino recently joined the project "Village Terraneo" in order to support and sponsor "little jewels" like itself, in the south of Europe. The project consists in providing tourist information and promoting these lovely resorts, that contribute to define the Mediterranean identity and meet the growing needs of new tourists to access these fantastic alternative places.
If you are in the mood of tasting some delicious typical local food, we strongly recommend "Osteria la Sosta di Pio VII" but, please feel free to let us know if you can find something better ;-)
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