Located in the vicinity of a medieval settlement in the center of the Elsa Valley, the commune of Poggibonsi has always benefited from its favorable position at a major crossroads at the center of Tuscany. Posted midway between Florence and Siena, the community still offers a wide array of connections with the highway network and it is a center of industrial and crafts activity.
Situated among the hills lining the Elsa Valley, the commune of Poggibonsi covers an area of 70.73 square kilometers (27.3 square miles), of which only a small part is located in the Chianti Classico zone. The highest point in the commune is 350 meters (1,148 feet). Poggibonsi has about 26,500 inhabitants. Only 5.1% of the work force is engaged in agriculture.
Located at the center of the Elsa Valley and of the region of Tuscany, the area has been settled since extremely ancient times. In the Middle Ages, Poggio Bonizio, whose origins have been traced to the Castello di Saint Michel, was described in the chronicles as one of the strongest and richest castles in Italy. The parish church of Santa Maria was constructed at the foot of the hill crowned by the castle and the village of Marturi grew up around it and became the nucleus of the modern town of Poggibonsi. Along with the Marturi castle, the Guidi family began to construct an important road linking up with the new Via Francigena connecting Rome with northern Europe. This aroused the resentment at Florence, which attacked and destroyed the community in 1115. Some decades later, the Counts Guidi constructed a new castle on the Podio Bonizi, with the aid of Siena. Following the defeat of imperial forces in the second half of the 12th century, Florence obtained the same privileges as Siena in respect to the castle. Although it had to swear allegiance to both cities, Poggio Bonizio managed to exploit the rivalry between them, which generated endless quarrels. As a result, the castle succeeded in securing a certain degree of autonomy. In reality, Poggio Bonizio tended to favor Siena most of the time. After many shifts of fortune and the return of the Guelphs to Florence in 1267, Poggio Bonizio once again became a rallying point for forces hostile to Florence. In that year, the Charles of Anjou placed the town under siege, conquered it and began the construction of a fortress. After the defeat of the Ghibellines at Colle, the castle once again became a bulwark against the Guelphs. In 1270, the castle was forced to surrender to its enemies. Of the structures of that period, only the “Fonte delle Fate” and the habitations situated farther away in the village of Marturi, the ancient site of Poggibonsi, have survived. On the road leading to the basilica of San Lucchese, the fountain of Vallepiatta, known as Fonte delle Fate, is the only major architectural element of the destroyed Poggio Bonizio to have survived.