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Relais Santa Chiara - San Gimignano
  • History

San Gimignano: History, Art, Tradition

The historic center of San Gimignano is one of the most evocative corners in Tuscany, with its dense network of towers that capture the attention of every visitor. There is no stronger emotion than losing yourself amidst the streets and squares of the medieval town, steering yourself by intuition, following the details and the particularities to relive, via a pleasant stroll, over thousands of years of history.

Walking Around the Walls

The walking tour around the medieval city wall is an excellent opportunity to visit San Gimignano on a journey in search of history and art, but also stupendous landscapes. The town offers many striking panoramic points, incredibly sought out by photography lovers. The best place to take a photo of the whole collection of 14 towers in San Gimignano is located just west of the center, going up Via Quercecchio until the ruins of Rocca di Montestaffoli. From the top of the only tower of la Rocca still accessible (locally called the ‘torrino’) you can enjoy an extraordinary panorama of the town and its towers.

The Grossa Tower and its Courtyard

The famous Grossa Tower (the Torre del Podestà) is beyond any doubt the most relevant among the towers that today characterize the skyline of San Gimignano, and as such, being the tallest tower, it imposes itself on any visitor’s gaze and stands out clearly in the landscape. Situated in Piazza del Duomo next to the Palazzo Nuovo of the Podestà, it stands 54 meters tall and it’s the only tower on which public access has been bestowed. The effort of the climb to the top will be amply repaid by the incredible view afforded after. At the foot of the Torre Grossa stands the palazzo of the new Podestà (Palazzo Comunale). Crossing its courtyard will be a true and unique immersion into history, as you stand there surrounded by frescoed walls with noble coats of arms of the old families.

The Duomo of San Gimignano

The main church of San Gimignano is the Collegiate of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the Duomo of San Gimignano. This architectural masterpiece is situated in Piazza del Duomo, and it was built around 1056 and subsequently consecrated in 1148. Inside all the walls and vaults are covered with frescoes created by great artists like Lippo Mimmi and Bartolo di Fredi.

The Church of San Agostino

The church of Sant'Agostino is located in the historic center of San Gimignano. Entirely made of bricks, its shape is simple and austere, with gothic windows that highlight the sides, crowned at the top by a frame of trilobite arches. After visiting the church it is advisable to continue towards the enchanting and peaceful cloister to experience true moments of peace immersed in history.

Campatelli Tower and House: Experience the History of San Gimignano

Visit the Campatelli House, with its rooms full of furniture, alabaster vases and antique objects, it is an unforgettable experience that brings people together and across the thousand-year history of San Gimignano. In 2005 the building was donated to the FAI (foundation with the aim of protecting and enhancing the Italian historical, artistic and landscape heritage) by the owner Lydia Campatelli, crowning the dream of making the history of San Gimignano known to the world and handing down the memory of her family to posterity. After years of careful restoration, in 2016 Campatelli Tower and House opened to the public, enabling vistors to finally admire the wonderful rooms, furnishings, the chapel and the terrace overlooking the magnificent Tuscan landscape. Of the seventy-two towers built in San Gimignano over the centuries, only fourteen have survived. Among them is the beautiful Campatelli Tower restored by the FAI. Our staff will advise you on the best itineraries to take to admire the beautiful towers that make San Gimignano so unique.