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Barberino Val d'Elsa


Ideally situated half-way between Florence and Siena, Barberino Val d'Elsa, a municipality of 4,000 people, is made up of a group of 15 villages and hamlets spread out over a large area. Its historic centre, with its classic medieval appearance, stretches like a backbone along one of the many hills which characterise the landscape of the Chianti region.

Already mentioned in the 11th century, Barberino Val d'Elsa's development dates from 1202 onwards, the period when Semifonte, Florence's rival town, was destroyed. Today, on this site, it is possible to admire the Chapel San Michele Arcangelo, built in 1597, a scaled-down model of the dome from the Cathedral of Florence. In Sant'Appiano, the four pillars which can be seen in front of a remarkable pre- Romanesque church are the remains of an octagonal shaped baptistery.

Agricultural land covers more than half of the town's surface area; the numerous castles and farms produce olive oil and the internationally renowned "Chianti" and "Chianti Classico" wines. In 2003, Barberino Val d'Elsa obtained the "Paesi Bandiera Arancione" seal of approval.

Three tourism development projects engage the town. The creation of the agricultural park the "Accademia dello Zafferano" consisted of the rehabilitation of the hydraulic system and the landscape of the Valley of Agliena. An inter-municipal inventory of the historic and architectural heritage of Val d'Elsa, known as the "Valley of Art", helps to make the local population more aware of the value of their built heritage. The clearing and the development of the remains of Cepparello, the old fortified town from the 11th and 15th centuries, provides the public with a remarkable testimony to the legendary confrontation between Florence and Sienna.