Originally a fortress, Barberino developed in the 1200's as a military garrison of Florence thanks to its dominating position on the ridge of the hill, that made it the perfect location to overlook the surrounding valleys. The centre of town is still ringed by its original fortifications, while the area still carries remains of the ancient power: The Church of Sant'Appiano, originally built during the 11th century, the village of Linari, the Castle of Poppiano at Vico d'Elsa and Petrognano. 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 the ancient city of Semifonte, razed to the ground by the Florentines in 1202. The site remains a focus for archaeological study. The noble Barberini family dynasty began at Barberino Val d'Elsa in the 11th century.