San Gimignano


San Gimignano

Another Tuscan city that has never lost its medieval identity is San Gimignano in the province of Siena. A town that offers much to see but that is known above all for its towers, symbols of medieval power that dominate all approaches.

The Historic Centre of San Gimignano

The beauty of San Gimignano has remained intact through the centuries, as though frozen in time. Still today, almost all of the buildings in the historic centre are as they were in 1300, before the town submitted to Florentine rule. After that, San Gimignano went into economic and cultural decline; its new status precluded practically any modernisation of its urban plan or architecture – and so it has remained one of the finest examples of a medieval city to have come down to us, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.  At its moment of greatest splendour, San Gimignano counted an amazing 72 towers. Although only 13 are still standing to their full height, around town are many examples of other towers scamozzate (‘cut off’) to the height of houses.



But San Gimignano is not just towers; it is also home to beautiful squares. Piazza del Duomo has always been its religious and political heart, seat of both the Collegiate Church and the Palazzo Comunale. The church dates from 1100; externally, it is unembellished, in typical Tuscan Romanesque style, but it possesses extraordinary riches in its interior. The frescoes that entirely cover the walls have never been restored and still shine with the original colours laid on by Benozzo Gozzoli, Ghirlandaio and others. Palazzo Comunale, built during the same period but later enlarged, features a loggia and is flanked by the famous Torre Grossa, San Gimignano’s tallest at 54 metres.

San Gimignano: Towers and More

The historic centre of San Gimignano has much to offer besides its towers: squares, churches and mirabilia that certainly merit a visit.

Another religious centre of primary importance is the simple, austere Church of Sant’Agostino. The exterior architecture is a mix of the Romanesque and the Gothic; the interior conserves treasures of medieval and Renaissance art such as the floor by the great ceramist and sculptor Andrea della Robbia or the Chapel of San Bartolo by Benedetto da Maiano.

san gimignano cosa vedere toscana

Another square to visit in San Gimignano is the triangular Piazza della Cisterna, named for the lovely well ornamenting its centre. It was the heart of commerce, the site of the town market and strategically placed for trade at the intersection of the Via Francigena and the road leading from Siena to Pisa.

Outside the town’s double wall is one of Nature’s most successful explosions. We strongly suggest taking a walk through the lush countryside that frames the town, eyes upturned to discover new and surprising vistas.


The Typical Products of San Gimignano

As throughout Tuscany, the arts of fine dining and drinking are cultivated in San Gimignano. Signature products include Vernaccia, one of Italy’s most highly-regarded white wines, boasting DOCG (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) certification, and PDO-certified saffron. Both the wine grapes and the saffron crocus have been cultivated around San Gimignano since the 13th century.

Vernaccia is a still white wine with a centuries-old reputation for excellence. On the tables of the rich and powerful and mentioned even in the Divine Comedy in connection with the gluttons in Purgatory, pale straw yellow in colour, fruity and fresh, Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a wine unique in its genre: differently from other whites, it improves with age. Superb as an aperitif or paired with light first courses, pasta salads, fried fish or with white meats.

prodotti tipici san gimignano vernaccia

Saffron is another San Gimignano product with a long history. Documents attest that in the 1200s the spice was used even by the Comune, on a par with coin, to pay its debts. Saffron is one of the world’s most costly spices by weight: its price is determined by the lengthy times required for cultivation and harvesting, activities which require unflagging dedication and commitment. 150,000 flowers are required to obtain one kilogram of marketable saffron; and they must be harvested at dawn, before they open. San Gimignano saffron is produced using only natural methods in every phase, from cultivation to harvesting to drying.

Our Tuscan holiday farm

Our Tuscan holiday farm is the ideal destination for a peaceful interlude in the green of the countryside and a just-as-ideal ‘staging area’ for visits to the medieval villages that are an enduring feature of our land.

Booking online by Hotel.BB