The locality called Nuovole, where the small rural church of Santa Maria existed since the early 11th century, is the place where the castrum called de Santa Maria Novella would later be built. The fortified center had taken the name of the place and of the small church whose remains are still conserved at the villa-farm. The church, with a single room, still has an interesting single-lancet window that opened at the center of the apsidal basin. The archivolt, made of a single block, is decorated with two frames, with dentils along the intrados and with a strip along the extrados. On the face of the arch block of the single-lancet window, two zoomorphic figures are sculpted in bas-relief, within circles. The features of the building seem to refer to the 12th century castle church. In fact, Santa Maria Novella is mentioned for the first time as a castrum in a famous donation of the year 1126. The document clarifies its origins, probably related to the two noble families who had conspicuous properties in this part of the Valdelsa in the 11th and 12th centuries: the Counts Cadolingi and then the Alberti. The reference is to the donation of a series of curtes and castles made in favor of the bishop of Florence, Goffredo, an exponent of the Alberti family. The donor was the widow of Rodolfino of Berardo de Catignano, a personage belonging to one of the family groups linked, up to the early 12th century, to the Counts Cadolingi and then, perhaps after the extinction of the line, to the Alberti. It is indeed in the first half of the 12th century that the conditions were established for a more intense rooting of the Counts Alberti in the Valdelsa, a presence that would culminate in the project of founding Semifonte.