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Hiking by the Balze
Terranuova Bracciolini
In the shadow of the Valdarno Balze

Terranuova Bracciolini, as the name would suggest, was part of the huge 14th century Florentine project to build new populated areas in the countryside.

In 1337, the Castle was founded as Castel Santa Maria. Terranuova was also the birthplace of the painter Fra 'Diamante di Feo, who was born here around 1430 and became a close collaborator of Filippo Lippi.

Terranuova Bracciolini is still home to its medieval walls and several perimeter towers. The town is enriched by various religious monuments, such as the church of Ganghereto (from the 14th century), and the sanctuary of Santa Maria in Pernina, dedicated to the Madonna della Cintola. The image of the Virgin is frescoed above the altar and has been venerated for many years.

Thanks to the balze (cliffs), an irresistible phenomenon, the surrounding landscape is intriguingly stunning. The balze are eroded rocks that create an atmosphere that seems to belong to distant places, but which instead uniquely characterizes this area. The warm colors of this earthly waterfall, framed by the innumerable shades of the vegetation’s green, paint a gorgeous scene as fascinating now as it was in the past - so much so that even Leonardo da Vinci painted the landscape as the background to some of his most famous paintings. 

In Valdarno Aretino are also Terranuova’s hamlets found in the hills such as Penna Alta, with its medieval features being particularly well-preserved, the village of Montemarciano (a historic resting point for pilgrims) and Persignano from which, wherever you look, you’ll find yourself enveloped in the reassuring yellow of the cliffs. Going up along Arno, between the bridges of the Acqua Borra, del Romito and the Romanesque Ponte a Buriano, you’ll reach what feels like a kingdom of water and wooded ravines. Today this ‘kingdom’ constitutes the nature reserves of the Valle dell'Inferno and Bandella and of Ponte a Buriano and Penna.

As is tradition in Terranuova, every second Sunday of the month the Antiques Fair is held in the historic centre’s piazza.

In September the Festa del Perdono takes place; the event is brought to life every year and has done so for over four centuries. The festival represents an entire region which proudly displays its excellence: quality agriculture, food and wine products of inestimable value and the absolute best artisan products.

In Terranuova Bracciolini’s general area, typical products such as the production of the flavourful and delicate Zolfino Bean (with the DOCG title) are utterly unmissable. The same goes for the Tarese pancetta, produced here and a Slow Food presidium.

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Attractions
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Default Naturalistic attractions Valle dell’Inferno e Bandella Nature Reserve
Default Naturalistic attractions Balze Natural Protected Area
What to do
Terranuova Bracciolini - Terra Nuova: the places of Leonardo and a slow life Read the story of Terranuova Bracciolini on Cover TOB
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