San Gimignano: All you need to know
In 1199, San Gimignano became a free town, fought against the Bishops of Volterra and the surrounding towns, and suffered from internal conflicts, which ended up dividing it into two sections, one headed by the Ardinghelli (guelfi) and the other by the Salvucci (ghibellini). On May 8th, 1300 it hosted Dante Alighieri, ambassador of the Guelfa league in Tuscany. The terrible plague of 1348 and the following depopulation threw San Gimignano into a severe crisis.
The small town, as a consequence, had to surrender itself to the power of Florence (Firenze). San Gimignano only got out of the degradation and abandonment of the following centuries when the beauty of the town, its cultural importance and its original agricultural identity started to be rediscovered.
Further information: Comune San Gimignano Web Site