Archeological evidence found in different places shows that the territory of Rignano was already densely populated in Etruscan and Roman times.
Developed around the parish Church of San Leolino, Rignano seems to have become a Florentine territory in 1129, as can be inferred from a deed drawn up at the castle of the same name. In the records of the first half of the 14th century, the ancient settlement appears already downgraded to a "castellare", that is, a castle in a state of neglect, but at the same time a new village was growing up near the bridge over the Arno built by the Florentine Republic just at that time. This village was then rebuilt several times after recurrent floods.
The surrounding territory, benefiting from the relative vicinity of Florence, the fertility of the soil and the beauty of the landscape, became over the years the site of numerous villas for Florentine landowners.Following the grand-ducal regulations of 1773, Rignano sull'Arno, still called Ponte a Rignano (Bridge at Rignano), became one of the seventy communities of the Florentine territory, and thirteen parish churches formerly under the jurisdiction of Pontassieve were annexed to it.
Outstanding among the secular buildings we find, upon entering the town, the Torre dell'Isola (Tower of the Island), one of the most beautiful architectural monuments in the territory, first a lookout tower and fort, then a mansion; and the bridge, of medieval origin but restored in the 17th century in Renaissance style. In the surrounding countryside are the splendid Villa of Torre a Cona with eighteenth-century features but with a medieval structure, the Villa of Poggiofrancoli which boasts 16th-century origins, the castle of Fontepetrini, the castle of Volognano and the villa-farm of Castiglionchio.