Historic Centre of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is located in the Italian region of Tuscany, about 56 kilometers from the city of Florence. It was an important relay point for the pilgrims that were head to Rome on Via Francigena. The Historic center is home to 72 tower houses that symbolize the wealth and power of the Patrician families that controlled the town.

Unfortunately, of the 72 houses, only 14 have survived, prompting UNESCO to list the town’s historic center in the World Heritage Sites. Despite the disappearance of the houses, San Gimignano retains the feudal atmosphere and appearance and this makes it very attractive to tourists that want to study the Europe of yesteryears under the feudal system.

The town’s squares, houses, palaces, wells and fountains are an exceptional testimony to a civilization of the Middle Ages that marked the beginning of the European urbanization.

The town saw its heydays from 1199 to 1353 when it became a region under Florence. The most prominent feature of the town is an enceinte that measured 2177 meters. The enceinte was reinforced by 5 cylindrical towers that girded the town.

The town of San Gimignano was controlled by the rival families of Ardinghelli and Slavucci. The Ardinghelli were seen as sympathizers of the Guelph while the Salvucci were sympathisers of Ghibellines. The two clans were involved in incessant infighting. This however did not stop the town from becoming one of the most beautiful towns in Europe.


  • Piazza della Cisterna
  • Piazza del Duomo
  • The twin towers of the Ardinghellis to the west of the town
  • The tower of the Benuccis
  • The Casa Rodolfi
  • The Palazzo Razzi to the south
  • The Palazzo dei Cortesi to the north.
  • The former palace of the podestà (1239
  • The Torre della Rognosa and the Torre Chigi
  • The Palazzo del
  • Torre Grossa

San Gimignano might be a small town, but its history towers over other large European cities. The town is ideal for a weekend getaway. Its small size gives it a cozy feeling – the kind of feeling you want to have after a long week at work. The town is cheap compared to other Italian destinations.

By Kennedy Runo on 05/09/2014 in Italy

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