Although is is mentioned in a document dating from 1054, Barberino Val d’Elsa developed as a township in the first decades of the 13 C after the Florentine destruction of the city of Semifonte in 1202. After a long siege, Semifonte was razed to the ground by Florence in 1202, and the Florentines forbade its reconstruction. This resulted in an increase in the importance of Barberino Val d’Elsa as a safe haven on the road from Florence to Sienna, after Florence surrounded it with defensive walls and transformed it into a military garrison. The Ospedale dei Pellegrini (Pilgrims’ Hospice) dates from 1365 and Berberino lies close to the Via Francigena pilgrimage route that runs through the valley below. The walls remain more or less intact to the present day and the two gates are still to be seen, one original and the other a reconstruction. Barberino takes the suffix of its name from the Val d’Elsa which lies to one side of the ridge upon which it is located. On the other side is the Val di Pesa.
Among the sights near Barberino Val D’Elsa is the Church of Sant’Appiano which was constructed during the 11 C (the part in stone) and 12 C (the part in brick) and now includes the Antiquarium Museum housing various Etruscan artefacts from the many necropoli in the area.
The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo was built in 1597 by Santi di Tito as a perfect 1:8 scale reproduction of the Cupola of the Cathedral of Florence. It was constructed on the site of Semifonte, destroyed by the Florentines in 1202.
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