The Municipality of Montespertoli welcomes the visitor with its hills set between the Val di Pesa, the Val d’Elsa and the Val di Virginio, rich in churches, villages and hamlets, which become interesting destinations to take part in cultural events and festival.
A land of parish churches and small villages
Taking a break can often hold unforseen surprises
Once part of the Frescobaldi family estate, Lords of Castiglioni, who probably inherited it from the Guidi counts, feudal Lords of this territory. According to an ancient popular tradition, the name derives from the spoils (“bottino” in italian) that had been collected and hidden in this place by Castruccio Castracani after a raiding expedion, in 1326 in Val di Pesa, to the detriment of the Florentines and of their allies.
An ancient domain of the Alberti counts, Castiglioni was a turreted village with a castle that has been mentioned since the 13th century. Unfortunately nowadays only a few walls of the old fortified building and some ruins in a nearby farmhouse are still visible. Via of Castiglioniis an open-air museum and one of the most evocative ways in the area.
Cellole and Polvereto
Cellole was an old possession of the Gianfigliazzi family, Lords of the S. Maria Novella castle and strong supporters of the Papacy, which is why, at the beginning of the 14th century, the castle of Cellole was part of the league against the Empire.
Nothing but a group of mostly uninhabitated houses and the abandoned parish church ofS. Maria a Coeli Aula is left of the old village. The Romanesque church of S. Maria in Coeli Aula stands on a hill that can be reached by means of a flight of steps.
The church of Santa Maria in Corfecciano, which is located along the road that connects Montespertoli to Lucardo, is a recent construction, dating back to the post-war period, even if the history of its territory is way older.
Originally also known as Fezzano or Sfezzano, together with the castle of the same name must have been able to accomodate a fairly large population within its walls.
Gricciano and Cortina
The farmhouse of Cortina was part of the old hamlet of Gricciano. Gricciano used to be a former possession of the Alberti counts, later on the area became a property of the Salviati dukes of Florence.
The location including the church of S. Piero alla Ripa, formerly joint to the hamlet of S. Quirico in Collina, was originally owned by the monks of Passignano Abbey.
Probably of Etruscan origins, it is likely the location most rich in history in the whole area. During the Lombard domination, Lucardo probably was the main village of the area that extended itself as far as Florence across the Pesa and Greve valleys.
As it often happened, the Roman settlement has been built on a pre-existing Etruscan dwelling. On the highest point of the village, only the ruins of a broad and well fortified tower are still visible, to which the remains of two other towers are connected.
The church of S. Ilario in Lungagnana is mentioned in a 1290 list of churches that had obligations to the Holy See
Three kilometres away from Montespertoli, on the right side of the road to Lucardo, stands the church of S. Martino in Manzano to which in 1774 had been joined the parish territory of the suppressed church of S. Miniato in Corfecciano.
The oldest known document to mention this location is a parchment from the Diplomatic Archive of Siena, dating back to 1208. Once a former fief of the Alberti counts, it was later ceded to the Soderini and to the Altoviti families until when, after other transfers, it flowed into the hands of the Frescobaldi family.
It is an important well fortified medieval village and the location of a castle.
Montecastello and Quarantola
It has been built in 1370 by Castellano of Baldo Frescobaldi who became rich thanks to the earnings coming from the many vineyards he owned in the area.
The castle of Montegufoni, which stands nearby the Via Volterrana, played a leading role among the castles in league against the Empire. This fief has belonged to the illustrious and powerful Acciaoli family since the 13th century.
Most likely this was the abode of a Roman family residing in Nebiola near Quarantola.
It consists of the parish of S. Vito in Ortimino and of the very old parish of S. Quirico in Sodere, in the vicinity of which there must have been a castle nowadays no longer visible.
Tradition has it that the Guicciardini family originated in Popiana Castella around the 13th century and the building of the castle dates back to the same time. The castle of Poppiano, that overlooks most of the Pesa and of the Elsa valleys, was one of the castles in league against the Empire.
On the crest of a hill between the Virginio and the Val di Pesa, stands an old parish church that in the old documents is mentioned as dedicated to S. Brancazio in Licignano or in Lucignano and sometimes even in Lucardo.
San Piero in Mercato
San Piero has been the first district council of Montespertoli and it has been called “in Mercato” (“in the market” in italian) because of the market that was originally held there and of which there is a written record dating back to 1108. It is said that next to the Church there was a castle and some houses.
San Quirico in Collina
The oldest document of this location is a parchment written in the hillock of Mataraia, dating back to 1071, attesting the belonging of the area and of the church to the Passignano Abbey.
The church of S. Maria a Torre, whose hamlet already existed in 1260, stands on the right side of the old road to Lucardo.
Evidence about Trecento and its parish church, S. Jacopo, has been found in two documents kept in the Passignano Abbey, dating back to 1069 and to 1086, where this location is called either Trecento or Trecenta.
Currently, in the place where stood the old castle there are some farmhouses.
Former property of the Florentine Bishop, together with Gricciano and the farmhouse of Cortile, nowadays called Cortina, Vallecchio is mentioned in a purchase deed dating back to 1181.
Voltiggiano and Uliveto
Information about this location, probably of Roman origins, has been found in a document, kept at the Diplomatic Archive of Passignano, dating back to 1056, where mention is made of the castle of Voltiggiano.