Gimignano famous all over the world for its medieval
When you'll arrive in San Gimignano
and walk through the ancient gates, you'll think the time
had stopped many centuries ago.
Just a few miles down the road fom Siena
lies enchanting San Gimignano,
known around the world for its thirteen medieval towers.
In San Gimignano, every street leads to 15 towers.
On a hilltop in the heart of Tuscany stands a majestic medieval
walled town, its profile bristling with tall towers. Standing
astride the pilgrims route from Northern Europe to Rome
it prospered in the thirteenth century. San
Gimignano has retained all its old streets, its walls,
gates, palaces, strongholds and thirteen towers. Dante came
here in 1300 and the room in the Town Museum named after
him is decorated with unique frescos of his age.
This is one of the most spectacular cities in Italy. It
is a city of towers (only about 17 now, but there were once
72!). It has a quiet majesty about it sitting on the top
of a hill with a 360 degree view into the surrounding valleys.
San Gimignano is
only about an hour or so West from where we were staying
in Chianti. It has the same kinds of narrow alleys as in
Florence and Cortona but with incredible sloping streets
that follow the contour of the hill.
rises on a hill (334 m), dominating the Elsa valley with
its towers. Seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic
period (the 3rd and the 2nd century b.c.), its history started
around the 10th century and the town takes its name from
St. Gimignano, Bishop of Modena, who is said to have saved
the village from hordes of barbarians. It developed greatly
during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena"
a route that crossed it. Such development led to the flourishing
of works of art that adorned the churches and monasteries.
In 1199 it became a free Municipality, fighting against
the Bishops of Volterra and against the surrounding municipalities.
It suffered from internal struggles dividing itself into
two factions headed by the Ardinghelli family (Guelphs)
and the Salvucci family (Ghibellines). On 8th May 1300,
Dante Alighieri came to San Gimignano as the Ambassador
of the Guelph League in Tuscany. The terrible Black Death
in 1348 and the following depopulation of San Gimignano
led to a serious crisis and therefore it was forced to submit
to Florence. San Gimignano managed to overcome its degradation
and isolation in the following centuries when its beauty
and cultural importance together with its original agricultural
identity, were rediscovered.
The history of the city goes back
to the 6th.Century A.C., when the Etruscans started to expand
the horizon of their territories from Volterra.
The name of the city: throughout the centuries San
Gimignano has changed it's name
a number of times: from Velathri, to Silva, to finally San
Gemignano: named after the patron saint of the city.
The fame of San Gemignano: the city became world famous
towards the end of the 9th.Century and became an obvious
resting place for pilgrims travelling along the pilgrims
way. The Via Francigena, along which commercial trade developed.
1000 and 1200, San Gimignano
became a Rigoglioso town and the first fortified walls were
built, of which today we can still admire three of its four
arches: Arco della Cancelleria, Arco de'Becci e Di Goro.
Then followed the building of numerous towers: 72 in all,
a symbol of economic and political prosperity.
In 1255 the second fortified walls were built that include
the three new castles of San Giovanni, San Matheo and Quercechio.
Between the 13th and 14th centuries the town became so extravagant
in it's luxuries that the town hall had to impose limits.
A small hilltop town crowned by a cluster
of tall medieval towers, San Gimignano
is often referred to as the Tuscan Manhattan. You will visit
a nearby winery and sample Tuscany's most famous white wine,
Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
Views from Grossa tower San Gimignano
Views from Grossa tower San Gimignano:
climb Torre Grossa, the only one of the towers which is
open to the public.
Inside the town there are several small
museums, as always a number of churches, interesting restaurants,
coffee and wine bars, and gelateries with gelato to die
for in Piazza della Cisterna..The pottery here, and other
arts and crafts, are also worth a look and the art galleries
and artists selling their work in the open air near the
Rocca (fortress) are appealing.
Tour buses deliver multitudes of people for a stay of a
few hours in the middle of the day.
San Gimignano and the medieval
as time allows, you may stroll the narrow streets of San
Gimignano, see the spectacular
frescos in the Duomo, climb La Rognosa, the tower of City
hall, or visit specialty food shops that feature delicacies
such as prosciutto di cinghiale (made from wild boar) and
the local version of panforte, Siena's traditional spiced
---- How to arrive in San GImignano
From NORTH: follow
the FLORENCE direction in freeway A1 and exit to FLORENCE
CERTOSA. Therefore to continue towards SIENA on the provincial
one to 4 way and exit to POGGIBONSI NORTH (40 km approximately).
Then follow the tourist indications for SAN GIMIGNANO (11
km far approximately).
From SOUTH: exit from the freeway
A1 to VALDICHIANA therefore continue in SIENA direction
(30 km approximately) and take the 4 way provincial to FLORENCE
direction and exit to POGGIBONSI NORTH (25 km approximately).
Follow the tourist indications for SAN GIMIGNANO (11 km