San Gimignano, city guide, San Gimignano information.

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San Gimignano coat of arms

San Gimignano - [Tuscany, Italy]   

San Gimignano is situated in Tuscany, halfway between Siena and Florence. It is a town that   today still preserves its ancient medieval layout. It had great importance and economic growth during the Middle Ages, thanks to the Via Francigena, the ancient way walked by pilgrims who went to Rome from Northern Europe. San Gimignano is known as the "Cittą dalle belle torri" (The town of beautiful towers), and appears like a delightful medieval panel painted with and architectonic scenery nowhere else to be found. In the past it had up to 72 Tower-houses, and  today 14 have survived until the present day. San Gimignano contains many remains and several works of 14th and 15th century Italian art, especially of the Sienese and Florentine schools. Piazza del Duomo is the heart of the town, it hosts the Palazzo del Podestą, The Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) and the Duomo. During the centuries Piazza del Duomo represented the central point of San Gimignano where each celebration took place and where  the municipal power seat. On the square rise two towers, Torre Grossa and Torre Rognosa. Nowadays it continues to preserve its ancient role and is one of the focal points of the town. 

  • Sights

    Duomo, Basilica di Santa Maria Assunta
    : Three nave aisle church dating back to the 12th Century. The rich interiors with frescoed walls by famous painters contribute to make this church a unique testimony of its ancient past. Works of art by Bartolo di Fredi, Taddeo di Bartolo, Ghirlandaio and ligneous sculptures by Jacopo della Quercia. 

  • Town Hall: It overlooks Piazza del Duomo with its tower, called "Torre Grossa", 52 mt high, the highest tower of the town, from which it is possible to have a wonderful view. It hosts the civic museum with many works of art. Of note are the "Annunciazione" by Filippo Lippi, ( 1482) , the "Crucifix" by Marcovaldo ( 1260) , the tabernacle of Santa Fina, the patron saint of San Gimignano and "Madonna in Gloria" painted by Pinturicchio in 1512. Of particular interest is the "Sala di Dante" where visitors can admire the "Maestą" by Lippo Memmi, painted in 1317. Several  other frescoes. 

  • Palazzo del Podestą : dates back to 1239. It is characterized by a stone and brick facade and by a high tower called "La Rognosa". Inside, on the central wall, is "Madonna con Bambino" ( Our Lady with child) , a nice fresco by Sodoma  

  • Museum of Sacred Art: It lies on the left side of the Duomo of San Gimignano and houses many paintings, silverware, and holy vestments. Some works of art. 

  • Archaeologic Museum: Many Etruscan, Roman and medieval finds are on display inside.. Several particularly shaped cinerary urns. 

  • Spezieria di Santa Fina: Ancient books of prescriptions, as well as, ancient ceramics and glasses. It displays several rare pharmacy vases dating back to the 15th Century preserving the ancient medicinal substances utilised to make drugs.  

  • Museum of Torture: Rich collection of more than 100 torture machines ( instruments of torture dating  from the 16th to 21st Century. 

  • Sant' Agostino: Gothic Romanesque church built in 1280 characterized by a very nice marmoreous altar by Benedetto da Maiano. It is one of the most beautiful Renaissance works of art. On the walls, several frescoes by Pollaiolo and Ghirlandaio. ( Madonna with child ) . The principal work is represented by the frescoes of the choir painted by Benozzo Bozzoli between 1461 and 1464 showing the life of St. Agostino.  

  • Piazza della Cisterna: Very beautiful piazza in a triangular shape. Nice travertine well in the center of the square covered in a red brick pavement. From here many of the severe buildings can be admired.

    Typical products:

    Vernaccia di San Gimignano
    Excellent white wine, the Vernaccia has ancient origins and was the first Italian wine to receive the DOC prize in 1966, the highest distinction that can be granted to any Italian wine. It is produced utilizing  grapes  belonging exclusively to the San Gimignano area. It is served as an aperitif, as well as, with white meats or fish dishes.

    Zafferano: It has been cultivated in San Gimignano since the  Middle-Ages and has always great importance for the economy of the area. It is utilized for with rice dishes.

    Ceramics : Along the streets of San Gimignano many shops offer their hand- made ceramics and hand painted works.

    Salami: You can find in San Gimignano a wide variety of traditional salami of Tuscany. Don't miss tasting  that  of the wild-boar.  

  • Events

    31 Jan Feast of the City Patron Saint: San Gimignano . Traditional fair.

    12 Mar : Festival of Santa Fina Patron Saint of San Gimignano. Traditional fair.

    July - International Festival : the municipality organizes several spectacles, lyric performances, concerts and ballets.
     

How to get there:

By Train : The closest railway stations are Florence  and Siena : Train schedules

By air :International flights to Rome or Pisa - Domestic flights to Florence.

Public transportation
:  Poggibonsi is about 15 minutes by train from Siena, about 75 minutes from Florence via Empoli. This is not a main line, and on weekends the trains only run every couple of hours ... so plan your schedule. You can travel there by bus from either Florence or Siena more frequently. You can buy bus tickets to San Gimignano at the bar adjacent to the Poggibonsi train station, and the bus to San Gimignano stops in the piazza right in front of the station. In San Gimignano, it stops at the two main gates. Cars are severely restricted inside the walls

 

 

 

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