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.
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
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
Century preserving the ancient medicinal substances utilised to make
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.
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.
31 Jan Feast of the City Patron Saint: San Gimignano . Traditional fair.
12 Mar : Festival of Santa Fina Patron Saint of San Gimignano.
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
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