Terranuova means "new land" and this town was established by the Florentine Republic to establish a system of fortifications along the squirmish-prone "borderlands" near Arezzo. The area was constantly contended between the Guelph and Ghibelline factions. Protected towns were built and locals encouraged to move to them, not only to help unify and protect the population. The town is laid out following an ancient Roman pattern with a central piazza and grid-type streets surrounding it.
The town has about 12,000 inhabitants, located along the Arno River about midway between the beautiful art city of Arezzo and the famous city of Florence. The Chianti hills start just on the other side of the Arno.
The center of the city is the Palazzo Concini, built in the 1600s. The vaulted interiors, pilasters and capitals were recently restored. It now houses the town council hall, and is worth a visit. Unfortunately many of the historical buildings around were destroyed during the second World War. However, there are still several noteworthy churches to see. Santa Maria in Campo Arsiccio has fresco fragments painted in the 1400s. The Neogothic San Bartolomeo al Pozzo is lovely; San Biagio i Mori has a vaulted nave and a small cupola, along with 14th century frescoes. And the church of Santa Maria Bambina holds some terra cotta treasures - hand-formed sculptures of the Nativity and the Pieta' that are charming.
Terranuova is big enough to have services, restaurants, and stores while remaining small enough to walk around and retain its friendly atmosphere. It is in the Val d'Arno in eastern Tuscany.
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