San Gimignano is a ancient city, populated since the Etrurian period. Still from the Middle Age, it reached all its beauty and glory because of its strategic position that made San Gimignano an important place for business. San Gimignano is a ancient city, populated since the Etrurian period. Still from the Middle Age, it reached all its beauty and glory because of its strategic position that made San Gimignano an important place for business.
Between the XII and the XIII century, aristocrats of the city have built big towers like a sign their richness.It is also the trademark of the city, a lot of towers rising up above the town. Definitely unique! In the Middle Ages there was 72 towers, but with time there are only 13.
Torri Gemelle degli Ardinghelli, Torre Grossa, Rognosa, Torre del Diavolo are some of the towers that you still have the chance to visit. Today San Gimignano is an historic city of 7 thousand inhabitants, situated at 320 meters above sea level. It is a UNESCO town, and every year is visited by a large number of tourists fascinated by its monuments, history and his beauty.
Our tour in the city can start from its main square and most beautiful, Piazza della Cisterna is surrounded by houses and medieval towers and that was ideally at the intersection of the Via Francigena and the one that linked Pisa to Siena. Along with the nearby Piazza del Duomo, it was the true heart of the city and the place where in the past the public life and the market.
The square in the shape of inverted triangle is entirely paved with brick and its name comes because of the water cistern octagonal travertinewhich is located at its center and which served as the public procurement.
On the square but on the opposite side you can see the famous Devil’s Tower and the Palazzo dei Cortesi while the other side opens the way leading to the Cathedral Square, you can see the Twin Towers of Ardinenghi and the Pellari tower.
In the same square, for ice cream lovers, we recommend ice cream place “Dondoli” world champion 2006-2009 the best in the world (be sure to try it!!!).
The heart of San Gimignano is the Cathedral Square, the center of religious and political life of the town. A trapezoidal shape in brick paving, strikes the visitor for the wealth of the surrounding buildings from the New Palace of the Podesta with the Loggia del Comune, the Red Tower and the Twin Towers of the Salvucci that catapult us back in time.
The dominant center of the square from a staircase, we find the – Call Collegiate also Duomo – in front of the Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta and Rognosa Tower and the Torre Chigi. The Cathedral dates back to 1100 and is one of the best preserved in the Tuscan Romanesque style.
After visiting the cathedral, you can see the Old Palace of the Podesta dating back to 1100 but then rebuilt the following century only to be finally expanded in the fourteenth century, when the seat of mayor was moved to the New Palace. Feature of the façade by the great arc that ends with battlements Guelph in style. The tower called Rognosa because the palace after the move of the mayor became a prison, is over 50 meters high and is second only to the Torre Grossa. The top floor is home to the belfry which was used to call the citizens against any threat and to mark the hours.
Worth a mention of the highest tower of San Gimignano: the Torre Grossa 54 meters dating from the fourteenth century and which you can visit to enjoy the show from all over the town and the hilly surroundings. To the left coming from the steps of the Cathedral we find Piazza delle Erbe named for the farmer’s market which was held in the past but then officially called Piazza Ugo Names. A triangle has been paved with bricks in recent times, remodeling why did however buy the square amplitude causing him to lose his physiognomy that, in photos of some time ago, you can still see how different atmosphere.
In the lovely old town is Piazza Sant’Agostino, enclosed by rows of houses that make quiet place with a cistern in the center and two churches on the sides. After the Duomo, St. Augustine is the most important church of San Gimignano and preserves masterpieces of sculpture and paintings by artists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The church seems austere and powerful with the side featuring Gothic windows, while the rest of the architecture is a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Do not miss the visit of the Rock of Montestaffoli that during the Middle Ages was the seat of the Bishop of Volterra. The fortress was also used to house the market and thus very active during the fourteenth century. After going into disrepair over the following centuries, it was restored in the twentieth century and today remain only the mighty two wall circles where you can still admire the wonderful view of San Gimignano and is currently being used as a place for events and summer concerts.
Typical wines from this area are : Vernaccia (white wine), San Gimignano Doc wine in the variety of rosè wine, red wine and Occhio di Pernice holy wine.
Siena & San Gimignano Tour