San Gimignano, information and advice on visiting the towered city

san gimignano

One of the most picturesque, little hill towns in Tuscany. The best way to explore San Gimignano is on foot as the town is very small. Its size and convenient setting make it a great base for exploring this part of Central Tuscany.


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San Gimignano is a small, walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. It is mainly famous for its medieval architecture, especially its towers, which may be seen from several kilometres outside the town. San Gimignano was founded as a small village in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscans. In the Middle Ages and Renaissance era, it was a stopping point for Catholic pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican, as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena. The city flourished until 1348, when the Black Death, which affected all of Europe, compelled it to submit to Florence. San Gimignano became a secondary centre until the 19th century, when its status as a tourist and artistic destination began to be recognised. This video shows some of the most interesting sights in San Gimignano.


San Gimignano has managed to conserve fourteen towers of varying heights, which have become its international symbol.There are many churches in the town: the two main ones are the Collegiata, formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino, housing a wide representation of artworks from some of the main Italian renaissance artists.

The Communal Palace is home of the town gallery with works by Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino and others.
The heart of the town contains the four squares, the Piazza della Cisterna, the Piazza Duomo where the Collegiata is located, the Piazza Pecori and the Piazza delle Erbe. The main streets are Via San Matteo and Via San Giovanni, which cross the city from north to south.


A fictionalised version of San Gimignano is featured in E.M. Forster's 1905 novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread as Monteriano.

Tea with Mussolini, a 1999 drama about the plight of English and American expatriate women in Italy during World War II, was filmed in part at San Gimignano. The frescoes that the women save are inside the Duomo, the town's main church.

In the novel The Broker by John Grisham, Joel Backman takes his second of three wives on vacation in Italy to keep her from divorcing him. They rent a 14th century monastery near San Gimignano for a month.

M. C. Escher's 1923 woodcut, San Gimignano, depicts the celebrated towers.

15th century San Gimignano may be explored in the video game Assassin's Creed II.

Located in the heart of the city, the museum San Gimignano 1300 offers a massive reconstruction of the city as it existed 700 years ago. Architects, historians, and a team of artists worked nearly 3 years to create this spectacular and unprecedented exhibition. This exhibit includes 800 meticulously handcrafted structures, 72 towers, street scenes, and figurines.

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