Impruneta is a town and comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

of the province of Florence
Province of Florence
The Province of Florence is a province in the Tuscany region of Italy. It has an area of 3,514 sq. km and a population of 933,860 in 44 comuni....

 in the Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 region of Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

. The population is about 15,000.

Name and production

The name Impruneta is derived from inprunetis meaning "within the pine woods", and is known for its fine production of terracotta. The terracotta is made from local clay, has a red-colored finish, and production includes everything from small tiles to large garden vases and statues.

Main sights

The most important feature of Impruneta is the Sanctuary of Santa Maria. The Basilica dates from 1060, being probably located over an ancient devotional site of Etruscan
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

 times (6th century BC). It was an important site of pilgrimage during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...


The basilica was bombed during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and now few of the original decorations can be seen. The façade is preceded by a portico by Gherardo Silvani
Gherardo Silvani
Gherardo Silvani was an Italian architect and sculptor, active mainly in Florence and other sites in Tuscany during the Baroque period....

 (1634), built by the Florentine people as vow for the liberation from the plague, and by a bell tower
Bell tower
A bell tower is a tower which contains one or more bells, or which is designed to hold bells, even if it has none. In the European tradition, such a tower most commonly serves as part of a church and contains church bells. When attached to a city hall or other civic building, especially in...

 from the 13th century. The interior has a single nave
In Romanesque and Gothic Christian abbey, cathedral basilica and church architecture, the nave is the central approach to the high altar, the main body of the church. "Nave" was probably suggested by the keel shape of its vaulting...

; artworks include a Nativity by Domenico Passignano
Domenico Passignano
Domenico Passignano , born Cresti or Crespi, was an Italian painter of a late-Renaissance or Contra-Maniera style that emerged in Florence towards the end of the 16th century.- Biography :...

 and a Vocation of St. Peter by Jacopo da Empoli
Jacopo da Empoli
thumb|250px|Martyrdom of St. Sebastian, [[San Lorenzo di Firenze|San Lorenzo]], [[Florence]].Jacopo da Empoli was an Italian late-mannerist painter....

. The presbytery is flanked by two niches by Michelozzo
thumb|250px|[[Palazzo Medici]] in Florence.Michelozzo di Bartolomeo Michelozzi was an Italian architect and sculptor.-Biography:...

 decorated by Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia was an Italian sculptor from Florence, noted for his terra-cotta roundels.Luca Della Robbia developed a pottery glaze that made his creations more durable in the outdoors and thus suitable for use on the exterior of buildings. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama...

, housing the relics of the Holy Cross and the Madonna's image to which the sanctuary is devoted and, which, according the tradition, was painted by St. Luke himself.

The museum connected to the basilica is home to one of the oldest-known pieces of European patchwork
Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design. The larger design is usually based on repeat patterns built up with different colored shapes. These shapes are carefully measured and cut, straight-sided, basic geometric shapes...

, the so-called Impruneta Cushion, dating from the late 14th or early 15th centuries. The cushion belonged to Bishop Antonio degli Agli, priest in charge of Santa Maria dell'Impruneta from 1439 to his death in 1477, and was found in his tomb
A tomb is a repository for the remains of the dead. It is generally any structurally enclosed interment space or burial chamber, of varying sizes...

 after the church was damaged by an Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 bomb in 1944.

The current Madonna
Madonna (art)
Images of the Madonna and the Madonna and Child or Virgin and Child are pictorial or sculptured representations of Mary, Mother of Jesus, either alone, or more frequently, with the infant Jesus. These images are central icons of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox Christianity where Mary remains...

's image is a heavy restoration by Ignazio Hugford
Ignazio Hugford
Ignazio Hugford, or Ignatius Heckford , was an Italian painter active mostly in Tuscany in an early Neoclassic style.- Life and work :...

 from 1758.

Town saint

The town's saint is St. Luc and the saint's feast day on 18 October each year is the highlight of a week-long festival with a Palio
The oldest extant palio is the Palio di Asti, but the Palio di Siena is better known internationally. There are many other palios that are held throughout the various regions of Italy. Here follows an incomplete list:-Tuscany:...

 featuring horse racing
Horse racing
Horse racing is an equestrian sport that has a long history. Archaeological records indicate that horse racing occurred in ancient Babylon, Syria, and Egypt. Both chariot and mounted horse racing were events in the ancient Greek Olympics by 648 BC...

 a carnival and fireworks.

Twin towns

Prachatice is a town in the South Bohemian Region, Czech Republic.-History:The town of Prachatice has its origins in the 11th century, following the beginning of trade on the "Golden Path"...

, Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

Bellerive-sur-Allier is a commune in the Allier department in central France.Known as Vesse or Vaisse, it was renamed Bellerive-sur-Allier in 1903.-Population:-References:*...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Hadamar is a small town in Limburg-Weilburg district in Hesse, Germany.Hadamar is known for its Clinic for Forensic Psychiatry/Centre for Social Psychiatry, lying at the edge of town, in whose outlying buildings is also found the Hadamar Memorial...

, Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Pruszków is a town in central Poland, situated in the Masovian Voivodeship since 1999. It was previously in Warszawa Voivodeship . Pruszków is the capital of Pruszków County, located along the western edge of the Warsaw urban area...

, Poland

External links

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