Tavarnelle has been for a long time the rest stop along the “via regia” which once linked Florence and Siena (and therefore Rome). The area is enriched with a high number of churches and parish churches that boast a wealth of artwork. The Church of Santa Lucia al Borghetto, an ex-Franciscan convent, is home to an Annunciation by Neri di Bicci. Not far from Tavarnelle, in the hamlet Morrocco, you can visit the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine and in the rectory of the centuries-old Romanesque Parish Church of San Pietro in Bossolo is the Sacred Art Museum, home to works like an important series of panel paintings made in 1473 by Neri di Bicci.
But what is probably the highlight of the area is the imposing Badia a Passignano, founded in 1049 by Vallombrosan monks. Immersed in the countryside and surrounded by a strong cultivation of olives, the abbey is striking for its fortress-like appearance, complete with walls and crenelated towers. Amongst the numerous works of art conserved here are the frescoes by Passignano (1601) in the church’s main chapel and the Last Supper, frescoed by Domenico and Davide Ghirlandaio (1476-77), in the monastery’s refectory.
Take a walk in San Donato in Poggio, a medieval village that conserves important ruins of its defense walls, the Renaissance Palazzo Malaspina, the Gothic Church of Santa Maria della Neve (from the 15th century) and the Parish Church of San Donato, which conserves a beautiful baptismal font in glazed terracotta by Giovanni della Robbia. Lastly, don’t miss the “Emilio Ferrari” Museum of Rural Life, where you can retrace the history of rural civilization in the Chianti.