Tavarnelle Val di Pesa is a small and nice town situated in the south of Florence province, on the border between Sienna and the Chianti territory. It rises at 378 m above the sea level.
Since 1898 Tavarnelle is a municipality. There were gather together to its area the rural communities of Sambuca Val di Pesa and San Donato in Poggio, until that time governed by the neighbouring Barberino Val d’Elsa.
The area of Tavarnella Val di Pesa was already thickly populated in the 8th and 7th centuries BC circa as testified by the main Etruscan settlements which had been there founded.
Its name derives from the Latin word Tabernulae (tavern) due to the ancient ones emplaced in the 8th century AD along Via Cassia offering food and drinking to people on journey there and back from Florence to Sienna.
In the High Middle Age, as well as in the earlier Lower Middle Age, the area was under the dominion of some noble dynasties like the Albero and the Buodelmonti ones.
In the first half of the 13th century the area passed under the power of Florence.
In those times the main districts in the area were the Abbey of Passignano, Sambuca Val di Pesa and San Donato in Poggio. In the latter one, in 1176 and 1255, were signed two peace treaties between Florence and Sienna. But in 1260 Florence army was already organized in the Castle of San Donato to fight against Sienna in the famous Battle of Montaperti (4th September 1260). The Guelphs of Florence - supported by their Tuscan allies – were conducted by Bocca degli Abati. They moved an army of 35,000 men circa against the Ghibellines of Sienna. In spite of the great contingent of German cavalry sent by King Manfred of Sicily, the Ghibellines of Sienna could only put up an army of about 20,000 men led by the Count of Arras. Nevertheless, the day was won by Sienna.
It is said that the defeat of Florence was instigated by the treason of Bocca degli Abati, who was at heart a Ghibelline. In the 14th century Dante Alighieri positioned Bocca degli Abati in the ninth circle of Hell of the “Divina Commedia”.
In the last decade of the 15th century one of its main districts, the Abbey of Passignano which belonged to the Vallambrosani monks was seized by the troops of Lorenzo the Magnificent. His second son, Giovanni de Medici returned the Abbey to the Vallombrosani. He became Pope Leone X on the 11th March 1513.
Nowadays Tavarnelle Val di Pesa is a prosperous municipality particularly due to its production of wine, extra virgin olive oil and wheat, as well as by the morocco leather manufacturing and paper, furniture and machinery industries.
Main monuments to visit:
- The Church of S. Lucia al Borghetto. Former a Franciscan convent erected in the 13th century. Its single nave maybe is the most remarkable religious architectural in Gothic style in the Chianti territory.
- The Vallombrosan Monastery of Badia di Passignano: Located in the nearness of Tavarnelle is a huge architectural, religious and historical sight.
Where to eat:
- “Osteria La Gramola”: is a well-liked and charming restaurant. Offers a traditional Tuscan cuisine based on old flavours. Wine cellar hosts pretty good Chianti wines.
They also offer one day or one week cooking courses of traditional Tuscan gastronomy.
- “Ristorante Borgo Antico ”: is a popular friendly restaurant. It offers some delicious hors d’oeuvres like local cold cuts and cheeses with jam and honey.
More information at : Official web site Tavernelle Val di Pesa
Main Towns of Chianti
Badia a Passignano,
Barberino val d' Elsa,
Castellina in Chianti,
Castello di Brolio,
Castello di Gabbiano,
Castello di Meleto,
Colle Val D' Elsa,
Greve in Chianti,
Mercatale Val di Pesa,
Panzano in Chianti,
Radda in Chianti,
Tavernelle Val di Pesa,
Badia a Coltibuono.
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