Itinerary: San Gimignano
San Gimignano, a wonderful Medieval village in Tuscany
Located 50 kilometers from Florence and 40 kilometers from Siena, San Gimignano welcomes visitors on a hill overlooking the charming landscape of Tuscany. The history of this area has begun with the Etruscans, who came here in the 3rd century B.C. in search of some fertile land to cultivate, but the town of San Gimignano became famous mainly in the Middle Ages.
In that time, in order to show their power and wealth, the patrician families who used to control the town built about 72 tower houses with different heights. Today, only 14 of them exist, but San Gimignano is still known as the City of Towers.
The feudal atmosphere is still intact in San Gimignano, which is an outstanding example of the Medieval architecture and civilization. In fact, this small village is featuring all structures related to a city such as squares, streets, houses, palaces, wells, and fountains.
San Gimignano has been developed around two main squares:
- The triangular Piazza della Cisterna is the most beautiful square of the village with an old fountain in its center originally built in 1273 and enlarged in 1346. The square, where you can feel the ancient charm, is surrounded by Medieval buildings and towers such as the twin towers of Ardinghelli and the tower of Benucci.
- Piazza del Duomo: here a large staircase leads to the entrance of the Cathedral of San Gimignano, called Basilica Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, built probably in 1056 and consecrated in 1148.
In the historic center of San Gimignano you can admire several masterpieces of the Italian art dating back to the fourteenth and the fifteenth century such as Loggia del Comune, the Church of Sant'Agostino, and the Collegiate Church, which is considered to be one of the most beautiful examples of the Tuscan Romanic style, where you can also visit the interior with wonderful frescos and sculptures.
We also suggest visiting Rocca of Montestaffoli, a fortress, originally built as a castle in the 14th century. You can visit only one of its turrets but it is enough to enjoy a spectacular view over the village and the countryside below.
When you visit San Gimignano, do not forget to taste the many typical local products, such as the wine called Vernaccia, (Vernaccia of San Gimignano DOCG, San Gimignano Red DOC, San Gimignano Rosato DOC or San Gimignano Vin santo DOC) dating back to the thirteenth century, which also, many Popes have enjoyed. There is a museum here dedicated to this excellent wine called The San Gimignano Vernaccia Wine Museum.
Some pics of San Gimignano: