Facts and Data
Official Unesco Page
Unesco World heritage since: 1990
Size of heritage: 14 ha
'San Gimignano delle belle Torri' is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art.
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Historic Centre of San Gimignano: A Timeless Gem in Tuscany
The Historic Centre of San Gimignano, located in the Province of Siena, Tuscany, is a UNESCO World Heritage site that encapsulates the rich history and cultural heritage of Italy. This medieval town, often referred to as the "Town of Fine Towers," is renowned for its well-preserved architecture and unique skyline.
San Gimignano's history dates back to the Etruscan period, but it flourished during the Middle Ages as a vital stop along the pilgrimage route to Rome. The town's strategic location on the Via Francigena, a major medieval trade and pilgrimage route, contributed to its economic prosperity and cultural exchange.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, San Gimignano experienced a period of remarkable growth, resulting in the construction of numerous towers by wealthy families. These towers, symbolizing power and wealth, transformed the town's skyline into a breathtaking sight. Today, out of the original 72 towers, 14 remain intact, creating a unique and enchanting atmosphere.
The historic centre of San Gimignano is a testament to the town's medieval urban layout. The town is enclosed by well-preserved walls, and its narrow, winding streets lead to picturesque squares and hidden corners. The Piazza della Cisterna, with its central well and medieval buildings, is a particularly charming spot that captures the essence of the town.
San Gimignano's architectural treasures are not limited to its towers. The town is home to several Romanesque and Gothic-style churches, such as the Collegiate Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Church of San Lorenzo. These churches boast exquisite frescoes and artworks, showcasing the artistic prowess of the time.
Today, the Historic Centre of San Gimignano continues to captivate visitors from around the world. Its well-preserved medieval architecture and unique atmosphere transport visitors back in time. The town's cultural heritage is carefully preserved, and strict regulations ensure that any new constructions adhere to the traditional architectural style.
San Gimignano's status as a UNESCO World Heritage site has also contributed to its preservation and recognition. The designation has helped raise awareness about the town's historical significance and has attracted tourists interested in experiencing its unique charm.
Visitors to San Gimignano can explore the town's rich history through its numerous museums, including the Civic Museum and the Museum of Sacred Art. The museums house a vast collection of artworks, artifacts, and historical documents that shed light on the town's past.
Furthermore, San Gimignano's annual festivals and events, such as the Medieval Harvest Festival and the Music Festival, offer visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the town's vibrant cultural traditions.
In conclusion, the Historic Centre of San Gimignano stands as a testament to Italy's rich cultural heritage. Its medieval architecture, including the iconic towers, and its well-preserved urban layout transport visitors to a bygone era. This UNESCO World Heritage site continues to enchant visitors with its timeless beauty and serves as a reminder of the town's historical significance.
Hotels and places to stay
Hotel Leon Bianco
Locanda La Mandragola
Residenza d'Epoca Palazzo Buonaccorsi
Casa da Rosetta - Guest House
Al Pozzo dei Desideri
Fattoria Guicciardini Case Vacanze
Videos from the area
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Medium airport - 18 mi (30 km) Firenze / Peretola Airport
Medium airport - 25 mi (41 km) Lucca / Tassignano Airport
Small airport - 34 mi (55 km) Pisa / San Giusto - Galileo Galilei International Airport
Large airport - 36 mi (58 km) Arezzo Airport
Small airport - 40 mi (66 km) Grosseto Airport
Medium airport - 49 mi (79 km) Massa Cinquale Airport
Small airport - 57 mi (93 km) Marina Di Campo Airport
Medium airport - 63 mi (103 km) Bologna / Borgo Panigale Airport
Large airport - 75 mi (121 km) Leonardo Da Vinci (Fiumicino) International Airport
Large airport - 130 mi (210 km) Verona / Villafranca Airport
Large airport - 133 mi (215 km) Ciampino Airport
Large airport - 140 mi (225 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- Barberino Val d'Elsa
- Casole d'Elsa
- Castellina in Chianti
- Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina
- Colle di Val d'Elsa
- Gambassi Terme
- San Casciano in Val di Pesa
- San Gimignano
- San Miniato
- Tavarnelle Val di Pesa
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- Badia A Elmi
- Castel San Gimignano
- Le Grazie
- Poderi Foci
- San Donato
- Santa Lucia
- Santa Maria a Sciano
- Vico d'Elsa
- Villa del Monte