Hello, Joanne. Have you had any replies yet? Well, I'm going to go for it anyway! The Mercantia website is already showing this year's festival running from July 16 - 20, 2014. They also have a Facebook page that you can follow. Certaldo Alto is a magical medieval place that really comes alive during Mercantia! I was very lucky to stay at Albergo Il Castello for two nights during the festival in 2013. The manager, Alfred, was fantastic, my room was spacious, the food excellent; plus there were artists of the festival staying at the hotel. I booked months ahead but originally there was a computer error in the booking, since Alfred said they usually reserve all of their rooms for the artists of the festival. So, he spoke with his friend who manages Osterio del Vacario in the town and secured a room for me which I would have been quite happy with. Then, Alfred wrote me back to say that they would have a few rooms available, so I booked with him! By staying in Certaldo Alto, you are right in the festival which is boisterous and crowded but really quite friendly and safe. And my room faced outward to the lower town, so it was very quiet. Another very good place is Hotel Certaldo in the lower town. I say it is within easy walking distance to the upper town - you can walk up or take the finiculare (cable car). I stayed there two years ago; it's in a renovated mill, was spacious, and has a small outdoor pool. The only downside to staying there is that it is a bit on the edge of town, adjacent to a roadway, but again, the hotel itself was quiet and not far to walk to the main piazza and up to Certaldo Alto. I hope that is helpful. Buona fortuna!