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San Gimignano is a small town in the province of Siena, located in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. It is known for its well-preserved medieval architecture, including its famous towers that dominate the skyline. San Gimignano is a popular tourist destination and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this article, we will explore the history, attractions, and culture of San Gimignano, as well as provide useful travel tips for those planning to visit.
History of San Gimignano
San Gimignano has a rich history that dates back to the Etruscan era, when the area was inhabited by the Etruscan people. The town grew in importance during the Middle Ages when it became an important stop for pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena, a major medieval pilgrimage route that connected Rome to France. During this time, the town’s wealthy merchants built many of its iconic towers as a symbol of their wealth and status.
Attractions of San Gimignano
San Gimignano is a charming town with many attractions for visitors to explore. Its historic center is full of narrow streets, ancient churches, and historic buildings, making it a delight to explore on foot. One of the main attractions of the town is its 14 towers, which were built by the wealthy families of San Gimignano as a symbol of their wealth and power. The Torre Grossa is the tallest tower and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
Another popular attraction in San Gimignano is the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta. This beautiful church houses several important works of art, including frescoes by the famous Italian painter, Benozzo Gozzoli. The Piazza della Cisterna is another must-see attraction in San Gimignano. This picturesque square is surrounded by medieval buildings and is a popular spot for taking photos.
Culture: San Gimignano
San Gimignano is a town steeped in culture and tradition. Its historic center has been preserved in its original medieval state, giving visitors a sense of what life was like in Tuscany during the Middle Ages. The town is also known for its culinary traditions, including its famous white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Visitors can sample the wine at one of the many wine bars and restaurants in the town.
Travel Tips: San Gimignano
If you are planning to visit San Gimignano, there are a few things to keep in mind. The town can get crowded during the summer months, so it’s best to visit during the shoulder season or in the off-season to avoid the crowds. It’s also a good idea to book your accommodations well in advance, especially if you are planning to visit during peak season.
In conclusion, San Gimignano is a beautiful town with a rich history and culture that is well worth a visit. Its well-preserved medieval architecture, iconic towers, and charming streets make it a popular tourist destination in Tuscany. Whether you are interested in history, art, or simply want to soak up the atmosphere of this charming town, San Gimignano has something for everyone.
San Gimignano: Historical notes
San Gimignano stands on a place that was certainly inhabited by the Etruscans, at least from the third century BC.
In the twelfth century it had its economic splendor thanks above all to the Via Francigena and in 1199 the town gained its municipal independence from the bishops of Volterra. The period of greatest economic splendor dates back to the 13th century, which was based above all on the trade of saffron, sold in Italy and abroad, and on financial speculation. The solid economy allowed the creation of an urban aristocratic class, which expressed its political and social supremacy in the construction of the towers: in the fourteenth century there were 72 towers
The fourteenth century was a century of crisis that did not spare San Gimignano: troubled by internal struggles, it was heavily hit by the black plague and famine of 1348, which decimated the population.
The decline and marginalization of the city in the following centuries were the conditions that allowed the extraordinary crystallization of its medieval aspect.
For the characteristic medieval architecture of its historic center it has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site of San Gimignano is mostly intact in its thirteenth-fourteenth century aspect and is one of the best examples in Europe of urban organization of the municipal age. see more
San Gimignano: Vernaccia Wine
One more reason to visit San Gimignano is given by Vernaccia. Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a white wine, produced only in the San Gimignano vineyards. This wine has its roots in very distant times, around 1200 AD. At the end of the thirteenth century Vernaccia was already a fine wine, present on the best tables of the nobles of the time. Dante Alighieri himself in his Divina Commedia, wandering among the gluttons of Purgatory, meets Pope Martino IV guilty of having been won too often by the desire of Vernaccia (Purg. XXIV, 19-24)
A lucid judgment comes to our days through “On the nature of wines and the Travels of Paulo III“, in which we read that the Pope’s personal bottler, in the order letter of 80 flasks to the Municipality of San Gimignano, regretted his insufficient production: “… it is a perfect drink for gentlemen and it is a great pity that this place does not make much of it …”
In 1468 Vernaccia went to cheer the guests at the Medici-Rucellai wedding banquet, then Lorenzo il Magnifico‘s meals documented by the continuous written requests he made to the Municipality of San Gimignano. Choose from the offers of San Gimignano winery wine tasting and book online directly with the owners of the wineries.