The Villa Certano estate extends along the sunny, open hillside about 7 kilometres from Siena. Inside the estate, on top of a hill, is the ancient rural village with its stately manor-house dominating the tufaceous, sandy, browny-yellow terrain, typical of this area, where olives and grapes have been cultivated for centuries. Villa Certano has belonged to the Baldassarrini Macinelli family for centuries and during the Renaissance it was the property of the famous Sienese painter and architect, Lorenzo di Pietra Vecchietta, who made this his residence.
Lorenzo di Pietro Vecchietta painted a group of frescoes and a relic press in the hospital at Siena; four ceilings in the Baptistery of San Giovanni at Siena; an altarpiece, The Assumption of the Virgin, his masterpiece (cathedral, Pienza); a triptych, Madonna with Saints (Uffizi); St. Catherine and the Virgin of Mercy, fragments of frescoes (Palazzo Pubblico, Siena); and a Madonna (Siena). Lorenzo was one of the most important painters of the later Sienese school. He also executed many sculptures, including The Risen Christ (Santa Maria della Scala, Siena) and a bronze relief, The Resurrection (Frick Coll., N.Y.).
The village is made up of rural buildings which, today, have been restored and refurbished for use as fully-furnished holiday apartments, offering relaxing stays under the shady Lebanon cedars and secular oaks. Adjoining the villa and enclosed between other buildings is a small pre-Romanesque church which, according to records, dates from the 8th century AD, during the reign of the Longobard King Liutprand.