Things to do in Terranuova Bracciolini in Valdarno

Terranuova Bracciolini, the last of the “terre nuove” fiorentine

Visiting Terranuova Bracciolini you will find that the town, its streets and squares are very well organized and that have nothing to do with the uneven roads that are usually in the city centres of the other Tuscan historical villages. Yet even Terranuova Bracciolini is a medieval town. Maybe you are wondering the origin of the name “Terranuova” that means “new land” or “new town” (“Bracciolini” was added only in 1832 and is the name of an important man born here)…

The born of Terranuova Bracciolini

To answer these questions we must tell how was born Terranuova. This history begin between the end of the 13th century and the first half of the 14th century, when Florence decided to found some new towns, called “Terre Nuove”, to concentrate the population of the countryside and consolidate its position. The new towns created by Florence were: San Giovanni Valdarno (1296), Castelfranco di Sopra (1299) and Terranuova Bracciolini (1337) in the Valdarno; Scarperia (1306) and Firenzuola (1332) in Mugello.

The urban plan

The “terre nuove” fiorentine were designed following the Arnolfo di Cambio’s project according to a pattern resembling the layout of the Roman cities. This project included a rectangular base with a central square crossed by two major roads. At the end of these two streets there were the main city gates equipped with towers. All other roads run parallel to the main contributing to the symmetry of the city.

Things to do in Terranuova Bracciolini The main square of Terrauova Bracciolini
The main square of Terrauova Bracciolini (Photo by Rik Jones)

Things to do in Terranuova Bracciolini: the visit

As we said, a time Terranuova was equipped with some defensive structures. Of these works are still preserved today some towers and much of the city walls. Unfortunately the four city gates were all destroyed by the retreating Germans in 1944.

One of the towers in Terranuova Bracciolini
One of the towers in Terranuova Bracciolini (Photo by LigaDue / CC BY)

In the main square of Terranuova Bracciolini, the heart of the town, is the chiesa di Santa Maria Bambina which houses a polychrome terracotta representing the Pietà, attributed to the Giovanni della Robbia‘s workshop.

Things to do in Terranuova Bracciolini Church of Santa Maria Bambina in Terranuova Bracciolini
Church of Santa Maria Bambina in Terranuova Bracciolini (Photo by LigaDue, CC BY-SA 4.0)

In the eastern part of the historical centre, in piazza Pernina, the chiesa di San Biagio ai Mori has some frescoes from the 14th and the 15th centuries.

How to get to Terranuova Bracciolini

By train and bus: the closest train stations are in San Giovanni Valdarno and Montevarchi. From San Giovanni you have to take the bus LAP110 by Etruria Mobilità; from Montevarchi you can take the LAP110 and the line LALUV Etruria Mobilità.

By car: highway A1 till the exit Valdarno, then continue on SP11 to Terranuova.

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