Discover San Gimignano
Nights suggested: 1
Its skyline will hit you straight to the heart. They call it the Manhattan of the Middle Ages. Around the fourteenth century, the towers of San Gimignano were 70. Today, there are still 16, which is more than enough to give the village that extra touch that makes it standing out among the many inTuscany. We are in the countryside overlooking the Val d'Elsa, on a hill about half an hour drive from Siena, among the vineyards of Vernaccia and saffron cultivations.
The most beautiful square of the village
If you arrive in San Gimignano from Siena, you’ll face the most beautiful of the five open gates in the thirteenth-century walls of the town. Porta San Giovanni. Through the Arch of the Becci and Cugnanesi, you’ll arrive in Piazza della Cisterna, the most beautiful one of the village: it has a triangular shape and is deep red brick paved. Its name comes from the presence of a travertinme pit of the thirteenth century: from here, for nearly eight hundred years, people from San Gimignano drew water.
Ancient area for shops and taverns, on the square still stand some of the most impressive buildings in San Gimignano. Any name? Towards Via del Castello appear the Palazzo Tortoli with its fourteenth century mullioned windows, and the cropped tower called dei Pucci. Further, Palazzo Ridolfi, the towers and the houses of the Becci and Cugnanesi, Pellari Palace and the two towers of the Palace Ardinghelli. On the other side, Lupi Palace and the Tower of the Devil - they say that its original owner, returning from a trip, found the tower taller, maybe as work of the devil.
Piazza Duomo and a dizzying emotions
Step on Via San Matteo and you’ll be in Piazza Duomo. On one side, the Collegiate Church, one of the symbols of the Tuscan Romanesque style. Climb the steps and walk through the doors of the church. Among its aisles show up frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, Ghirlandaio and a wooden Annunciation by Jacopo della Quercia.
In front of the Collegiata stands the Salvucci palace, Ghibelline family among the most prominent in the medieval San Gimignano. They say that the Salvucci, sworn enemies of the Guelph Ardinghelli, to assert their supremacy, they built two towers in the village, designed so that the top of the first one corresponded to the base of the second: ideally overlapping, the two houses were taller than the Podesta (or Rognosa) tower, and a municipal ordinance in 1255 forbade to go beyond them.
The main tower, today, is an elegant charming retreat reserved for those travelers who dream of spending at least one night.. lost in space .... From its 40 meters, Salvucci Tower offers spectacular views of San Gimignano and the beautiful hills. If you do not suffer vertigo, you can choose the tower for your Valentine day.
Going around museums
To continue your time journey, we suggest you to visit San Gimignano 1300, sponsored in 2011 by none other than UNESCO. The main attraction of the museum? The large ceramic model of the medieval city, made in two years of work by five artisans.
The Town Hall, or New Palace of the Podesta, overlooking Piazza Duomo, is home from 1852 of the Civic Museum and Art Gallery masterpieces, and of major works by the Fiorentina and Siena school(Filippino Lippi, Benozzo Gozzoli, Sodom, Pinturicchio). In Dante's Hall, named in memory of the poet's stay in San Gimignano, stands the Majesty painted by Lippo Memmi in 1317. With the same ticket of the museum you can visit the Torre Grossa (less than 54 meters high).
Last but not least, take at least one hour for a visit to the Museum of Vernaccia, housed in the villa of the Rock of Montestaffoli, the highest spot of the city. Organized by the Wine Road Vernaccia, the museum offers an exciting journey famong panels, images, photos, and interactive tools to explore life, death and miracles of San Gimignano - led by the sommelier, you can taste all wines of the territory in tasting room encased with more than 500 bottles.
Piazza delle Erbe
From 206,00 EUR
San Gimignano 1300
Via San Giovanni, 50
Every day, from 10 to 19
Ticket 3,00 €
Free for children up to 10 years
Piazza Duomo, 2
1 April to 30 September, from 9.30 to 19
1 October to 31 March, from 11 to 17.30
Full ticket 5,00 €, reduced 4,00 €
Vernaccia Wine Museum
Via della Rocca, 1
Tel. 0577 940008