Mercatale Val di Pesa

The town of Mercatale Val di Pesa in the comune of San Casciano Val di Pesa

Mercatale in Val di Pesa is a town located in the valley of the river Pesa and the municipality of San Casciano in Val di Pesa which is part of the province of Firenze. It is the most important part of the municipality of San Casciano and has a population of just less than three thousand inhabitants.

The origin of the Mercatale is linked to the expansion of localities, situated in valleys or near roads, that facilitated trade between the rural population centres, during in the late Middle Ages. This origin, as well as the name of the town, which means "market", is also reflected in the main square of Mercatale, which is shaped like an elongated trapezium. This shape is typical of the locations used as markets. One can see the same layout in Piazza Matteotti at Greve in Chianti, which was initially the market of the fortified village of Montefioralle and the neighbouring castles.


Castello di Gabbiano near Mercatale

The village was founded on the initiative of the podestÓ of the nearby castle of Montecampolese who, in 1237, built a public piazza in a locality known as "il Beccamorto" (the gravedigger). Mercatale is also mentioned several times in the Chronicle written by Donato Velluti between 1367 and 1370. In 1592, an oratory was constructed on the piazza.

In the following centuries, the population continued to increase and this involved the final abandonment of the ancient hill town of Montecampolese. Nevertheless, the parish church was transferred to the oratory on the piazza as recently 12 June 1786.

The church of Santa Maria is situated on the main piazza, its current appearance the result of numerous renovations, the latest being in 1964. Villa Nunzi stands to the left of the church. It was built by the Strozzi at the end of the 15 C and is characterised by a trapezoidal shape with two symmetrical towers at the ends. In the 80's, Mercatale was nicknamed "Little Russia" because almost the entire population had joined the Communist Party.

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Things to see in and near Mercatale

Castello il Palagio at Mercatale

Castello il Palagio

Click here for a brief history of Castello Il Palagio near Mercatale.

Castello Gabbiano near Mercatale

Castello Gabbiano

Click here for a brief history of Castello Gabbiano near Mercatale.

Vacation information Tuscany

Chiesa di Sant'Andrea a Luiano

Chiesa di Sant'Andrea a Luiano

Chiesa di Sant'Andrea a Luiano

This church dates from the 12 C. It is the most important example of Romanesque architecture in the town of San Casciano in Val di Pesa. The most important freco from inside the church is now housed in the Sacred Art Museum of San Casciano.

Nearby there is the oratory of San Biagio which has a pleasant exterior door made of stone in the 16 C.

Villa Luiano

The name of this villa derives from the latin Lucas Jani (the Forest of Janus). The villa was built in the 16 C and is a fine example of a Tuscan country villa. It has a simple fašade with an ashlar doorway and inside it has a cloister in which there is a chapel dedicated to San Giuliano. In the past the villa belonged to Mellini, Borromeo and Strozzi.

Tabernacolo degli Strozzi

This tabernacle was built in the 15 C by the Strozzi family owners of the nearby Villa Caserotta. It houses a painting of the PietÓ with Saints and Angels by Agnolo Bronzino.

Cappella dei Peppoli

Cappella dei Peppoli

Cappella dei Peppoli

The Cappella dei Peppoli is located along the road that leads from Mercatale to the castle of Gabbiano. The chapel was built in the 16 C by the Cerchi family who dedicated it to the Blessed Umiliana de' Cerchi.

The chapel has the features typical of the architecture of the late 16 C. The fašade is preceded by a graceful, architraved portico resting on two Tuscan columns of pietra serena. At the sides of the fašade there are two half-columns and in the centre is the stone-framed doorway with two small windows on either side and surmounted by an arch with a lunette. Higher up is the monogram of San Bernardino of Siena. There is a stone-framed oculus in each side wall.

Cappella dei Marcellini

Cappella dei Marcellini

Cappella dei Marcellini

This chapel was attached to the Villa dei Marcellini and is located along the road that leads from Mercatale to Quattro Strade and then in Panzano. The villa of Marcellini was already in existence at the beginning of the 15 C, but the chapel was built after 1669, when the villa became the property of the Buontalenti, the direct descendants of the architect Bernardo.

The chapel has an octagonal plan and a beautiful portal framed in stone and topped by a curved broken pediment that folds in the middle to form two shell-like motifs. There is a small lower window on each of the two wall segments adjacent to the portal and larger, higher windows with round arches on the adjacent segments. The chapel is capped with a dome that emerges from the drum via a small pitched roof set on a frame that runs along the outer wall. The roof is composed of tiles arranged like fish scales and the segments are highlighted by gray stone ribs that converge all the small lantern at the top.

Pieve di Santo Stefano di Camp˛li near Mercatale

Pieve di Santo Stefano di Camp˛li

Owner-direct vacation rentals in Tuscany

Tuscany vacation rentals

The hills of Chianti provide a wide range of village and farm house accommodation for your stay in Tuscany. Why suffer the heat of a town when you could be high in the cool hills with panoramic views and a pool? Click here for a large selection of beautiful farm house apartment and room vacation rentals in Chianti, plus all you need to know about Chianti.

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