San Gimignano

San Gimignano: All you need to know

San Gimignano, famous for vernaccia and for its towers, stands on top of a pass that dominates the Valley of Elsa. It is the centre of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenic period. Its history started around the X century when it took the name of the Saint Bishop of Modena: San Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbaric hordes. The village underwent great development during the Middle Ages thanks to the Via Francigena which went right through it. This is how San Gimignano experienced an extraordinary blossoming of works of art decorating churches and convents took place in San Gimignano.

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

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