In 1282 the government of San Gimignano promulgated a law that prevented the demolition of the old houses if not to build more beautiful ones. From there to a century, San Gimignano would have reached its maximum splendor and then decadence, which saved it from radical changes. The medieval town, which today attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world, is therefore almost identical to the medieval San Gimignano. Unfortunately, of the 72 towers (one for each wealthy family) built in the Middle Ages, today only 13 remain. Despite this, the effect for those coming from the Tuscan hills and suddenly sees the outline of the country is simply thrilling. San Gimignano suffers from mass tourism hit and run, with groups that arrive in the city, cross it quickly and then leave again. San Gimignano is a small jewel that should be discovered during off-season and off-weekend periods, to savor its essence to the fullest.
The city entirely surrounded by walls is still articulated on the ancient layout with the layout of the Francigena and the ancient Florentine road. On the top of the hill where San Gimignano was built open the two main squares, that of the Cisterna which is a triangle surrounded by buildings and that of the Cathedral where all the power is concentrated with the Palazzo del Comune and precisely the Duomo. The towers are an attraction of San Gimignano and telling this city through its beauty means falling into the obvious splendor. It is a unique place that displays the Collegiate Church, the Palazzo del Popolo which has the tallest tower (the Grossa tower) now seat of the Municipality and preserves the hall of Dante (where the poet came to make embassy in the 1300s) those of the audiences secret and a beautiful fresco by Sodoma, the fortress of Montestaffoli, Sant'Agostino (here the cycle of frescoes by Gozzoli is extraordinary) and then has in store the doors, the patrician palaces, the civic, Etruscan and sacred art museums. But there is a place where the soul of San Gimignano is revealed: it is the Spezieria di Santa Fina, now in the complex that also houses the Archaeological Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art. Here civilization finds are kept: the assistance activities to the pilgrims of the Francigena, and Santa Fina still represents the consoler (the wonderful legend that tells of a rain of flowers to free San Gimignano from a siege), the popular soul of a city that every day he had to do with religion and that he raised one of his daughters to the honors of the altar.
It is no coincidence that one of the absolute masterpieces of San Gimignano is, and remains, the Chapel of Santa Fina with the cycle of frescoes by Ghirlandaio.
San Gimignano owes its charm to its rurality and its elegance of life, which once radiated its trade to the four corners of the earth.
Find out more about the visiting hours at the Civic Museum, the Duomo, and where to eat in San Gimignano, once you arrive at the Arcobaleno Hotel in Siena...