Tuscany's Medieval Manhattan
Originally Etruscan San Gimignano became increasingly prosperous in the late Middle Ages after which civil strife and the growing power Of Siena and Florence led to its gradual economic decline. If San Gimignano's towers are its defining feature now, it is interesting to imagine how it looked when there were 72, not just the remaining 14?
|Via San Giovanni||S.Giovanni & Palestro||Piazza Cisterna||Piazza Duomo|
Immediately inside the city gate you will find yourself on the narrow Via San Giovanni which opens up as you reach the junction with the Palestro then up a short incline to Piazza Cisterna so called from its 13th century fountains (unfortunately in renovation at time of picture). From the top of this piazza you then can enter Piazza Duomo home not only to the cathedral: Chiesa Collegiata (1148) but also to San Gimignano's most famous towers: the oldest the Torre del Podestà (51m) and the tallest Torre Grossa (54m) up some steps to the left of the cathedral.
|Porta San Matteo||Museo Archeologico||Piazza Sant'Agostino||Vernaccia Wine Museum|
Heading north and down across San Gimignano you can pass through Porta San Matteo and from here you can visit the Museo Archeologico on Via Folgore with its collection of Etruscan artifacts, the modest 12th century Chiesa di San Piero in Forliano in Piazza Sant'Agostino. Heading up hill again towards La Rocca (the remains of the 14th century fortress at the town's highest point) you can then visit the Vernaccia Wine Museum with audio visual presention on the history of wine making in the area and to sample local wine varieties including San Gimignano's famous Vernaccia.