Tavarnuzze: American Cemetery near Florence at Tavarnuzze

Tavarnuzze in Chianti


Tavarnuzze, a Chianti town on the outskirts of Florence

Tavarnuzze is a smallish town within the county of Impruneta. The Greve river flows through it. The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site is located near Tavarnuzze and can be reached by SITA bus from Florence. The site covers 70 acres and is open to the public daily from 9 am to 5 pm, except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. (Florence War Cemetery is a Commonwealth War Graves Commission burial ground in the locality Girone-Compiobbi, close to the River Arno.)

American World War II cemetery Florence
Florence American War Cemetery and Memorial near Tavarnuzze

The name “Tavarnuzze” is derived from the fact that that the place, being on a frequented road, was the location of places of refreshment for travelers until the High Middle Ages. The original name of the town was in fact “Tavernuzze” because the first premises built there were taverns that stood on the right bank of Pescina, a small stream that descends from Impruneta. The present territory of the town fell almost entirely in the parish of Impruneta, (inhabitants of San Piero a Montebuoni and S. Lorenzo alle Rose), and partly in the parish of Giogoli, (inhabitants of S. Maria a Colleramole and S. Cristofano a Viciano). At the end of the 19 C, there were several shops in Tavarnuzze, plus the tram station, a school, an important straw weaving industry and mining activity in the stone quarries of Poggio a’ Grilli and Montebuoni, and even farming was flourishing. On 3 April, 1893 the tramway linking Tavarnuzze Porta Romana in Florence was inaugurated, the route of the tram, at first steam and later lectrical, passing through the center of the town and about a mile from the village, at Molino del Diavolo, a side branch ran to the quarries of Poggio a’ Grilli, allowing them to be able to send large quantities of stones to Florence. With the passage of time, the tramway was used less and less until it ceased operations in 1935. In the mid-1900s, the town began to grow and soon reached three thousand inhabitants. A new church was consecrated in 1959. In the decade between 1960 and 1970, there was an expansion of housing and the construction of the Florence-Sienna highway, which added a lot in life of the town. With the flood of 1966, the bridge that connected the Via Cassia with the quarries of Poggio a’ Grilli collapsed. This structure was never rebuilt and quarrying activity, already in crisis, consequently declined permanently, putting an end to an important source of employment and to recreational activities popular with the population, namely skeet shooting and places to get something to eat.

Tavarnuzze tram station
Tavarnuzze tram station after conversion to electricity in the 1920’s

In the vicinity of Tavarnuzze, the Church of San Pietro a Montebuoni, the Church of San Miniato at Quintole, the Church of San Lorenzo alle Rose and Saint Peter’s Church in San Gersolè (Chiesa di S. Pietro a S. Gersolè) all merit a visit to anyone interested in early Tuscan architecture.

More about Tavarnuzze.