Cerreto Guidi Travel Guide

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The township of Cerreto Guidi lies between two areas of great naturalistic interest, Montalbano to the East and the Padule (Westlands) of Fucecchio to the West, and is predominantly an agricultural hill area. The inhabitants of the countryside are widespread and the rural landscape has kept its own balance, being still rich in traditional vineyards and olive groves. Against a background of a well-kept and preserved countryside, we can see the homesteads, farms, villas and churches so typical of Tuscan hillside scenery.

The first historical references to Cerreto date back to 780. The name Cerreto in Greti was used until 1079 when it was changed due to dominion by the Guidi counts. The end of the feudal age and the hand-over of Cerreto to the Florentines officially took place in 1273. The 17th century was fundamental to the history of Cerreto, when its future was sealed by linking the name of the city to the Medici family.

The Medicean Complex, which bears witness to the rule of the family over the village, stands in a central position. It is made up of the Museo Villa Medicea, the farm, which is separated from the manor house by the Parish church of San Leonardo, and the four stone staircases leading to the square in front of the villa, known as the ponti medicei (Medicean bridges).

The area was obviously so dear to Cosimo dei Medici that he wanted to build a splendid residence on the peak of one of the hills where a then-derelict Guidi castle bore witness to their previous dominion. In 1564 the Grand duke wrote a letter giving consent for work to be started, and in a document of 1575 it is shown that the Medici architect Bernardo Buontalenti, presumably the villa’s designer, was in the area. The brickwork and stone facade of the Villa is austere, but is balanced by the stone staircases leading to the square, the so-called bridges, thus giving a strong chromatic contrast.

The villa’s interior is extremely rigorous and embellished with pictorial decorations dating back to the 19th century.

The villa is the seat of the Museo Villa Medicea, and now houses a collection of Medicean iconography.

Due to lack of documentation, the origins of the Parish church of San Leonardo are unknown.

Inside the church, the baptismal font is of artistic note, made of glazed polychrome terracotta from the workshop of Giovanni della Robbia.

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