Tavarnelle Val di Pesa
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The village of Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa

Tavarnelle Val di Pesa is a small town located among the green and gentle hills of Chianti, at an altitude of 378 meters above sea level. From an administrative point of view, Tavarnelle is a municipality together with the nearby center of Barberino and is part of the province of Florence, which is just over 30 meters away.


Tavarnelle was born in the Middle Ages as a post station on the road that connected the Via Francigena to the Via Volterrana. Unlike many other villages in Tuscany, the town was never walled up. This is because it never had a great strategic-military importance while instead its role was greater from a commercial point of view. Gradually Tavarnelle merged with the nearby villages of Borgetto and Mocale. This territory has always been linked to the center of Barberino Val d’Elsa which since 2018 has been united with Tavarnelle in a single municipality.

Tavarnelle Val di Pesa
Tavarnelle Val di Pesa (Photo by LigaDueCC BY)

What to see in Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa

The main evidence of Tavarnelle’s past are the church of Santa Lucia al Borghetto with its Franciscan convent and the parish church of San Pietro in Bossolo. Together with the parish church, you can also visit a small but interesting museum of sacred art.

Chiesa di Santa Lucia al Borghetto

The Franciscan convent of which the church of Santa Lucia is a part was built during the 13th century, following the visit of Saint Francis who went to Val di Pesa in 1220. An interesting example of Franciscan Gothic, the church has a single nave, very large and well lit. The facade, restructured at the beginning of the 1900s in neo-Gothic style, is simple and has a brick facing. In the lunette above the portal are the remains of a fourteenth-century fresco. Inside there is a crucified Christ from the end of the 14th century and an Annunciation by Neri di Bicci while the fragmentary frescoes found on the walls have been attributed to the Master of the Annunciation of the Legnaioli.

Pieve di San Pietro in Bossolo

The parish church of San Pietro in Bossolo stands in a place inhabited at least since the fifth century after Christ. The term “in Bossolo” derives from the Latin “in buxula” which was used to indicate the imperial case. Documented since 988, the parish administered a rather large territory and had as many as 25 suffragan churches under its control. Over the centuries it has undergone various interventions that have changed its forms several times, but with the last restoration, which took place between the 1930s and 1940s, its Romanesque appearance was restored.

The facade is preceded by a portico added in the sixteenth century which partially conceals its salient profile. The interior has three naves which develop over five bays. The main nave and the side naves are separated by massive pillars which support wide arches. All three naves end with semicircular apses. Inside the church there is an interesting hexagonal monolithic baptismal font. The chapel of the Madonna delle Grazie preserves a beautiful marble ciborium dated 1522.

Museum of Sacred Art

The Museum of Sacred Art of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa is located in the rectory of the parish church of San Pietro in Bossolo. It is a small museum but inside there are some works of undisputed value. In the first two rooms in particular, those dedicated to the baptismal parish of San Pietro in Bossolo and that of San Donato in Poggio, there are some works of great value. These include the Madonna delle Grazie, painted by Rossello di Jacopo Franchi in the first half of the 15th century, the panel Madonna and Child, from the 13th century, attributed to Meliore and a series of works by Neri di Bicci.

What to see around Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa

In the surroundings of Tavarnelle there are some interesting medieval hamlets, such as the village of San Donato in Poggio, still partly walled up and with a beautiful Romanesque church. Just outside San Donato is the late Renaissance Sanctuary of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Pietracupa. Between Tavarnelle and San Donato is the beautiful Carmelite monastery of Santa Maria al Morrocco which dates back to the 15th century.

The main monument and historic site of the municipal area is in all probability the Badia a Passignano, a fortified monastic complex dating back to the 11th century. Also worth visiting are the Pieve di Sant’Appiano, the Castle of Tignano and the Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo in Semifonte.

Finally, along the road from San Donato in Poggio to Castellina in Chianti, there is the Osservatorio Polifunzionale del Chianti, a place of great interest from a scientific point of view.

How to get to Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa

Tavarnelle is not served by train but can be reached by bus in about 40 minutes from Florence, while from Siena it takes an hour and 40 minutes with a change in Poggibonsi.

To get to Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa by car, both from Florence and Siena, you must take the Firenze-Siena motorway junction. If you arrive from Florence you must take the Tavarnelle exit while from Siena the exit is the Poggibonsi Nord one.
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