With its characteristic Medieval architecture and its stunning skyline of towers, the historic centre of San Gimignano has been declared a World Heritage Site, under the protection of UNESCO. The place, known as la città delle belle torri, “the town of beautiful towers,” despite some restorations dating back the 1800’s and 1900’s, evokes the appearance of Medieval Tuscany more than any other sight and is one of the best examples in Europe of urban organization during the age of the city-republics. Set in a spectacular environmental context, the 13 medieval towers still standing (out of an original 72) testify the original wealth of the town. During the Middle Ages, San Gimignano’s population of 15.000 (twice the present number) prospered as a result of agricultural holdings, a lively commerce (saffron) and a position close to the via Francigena, the ancient trade and pilgrimage route between Rome and northern Europe. The walking tour starts at the Porta S. Giovanni gate and, following the Pilgrim’s route, finishes at the Porta S. Marco gate, taking notice of the town’s central Piazza della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo with its Romanesque cathedral (the Collegiata) and the Palazzo del Podestà (both only from the outside), the Salvucci’s towers, the charming medieval streets and the S. Agostino Church, famous for its lovely fresco cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli which tells of the life of St. Augustine. It may be available in the walking tour:
A) The visit of the inside of the Collegiata (admission fee not comprised in the tour cost): it conserves interesting works by Lippo and Federico Memmi, Bartolo di Fredi, Benozzo Gozzoli, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Jacopo della Quercia.
B) The visit of the Civic Museum (admission fee not comprised in the tour cost): it displays numerous and important works by Sienese artists from XIII to XVI century.
Duration: approximately 90 minutes (visit of the museums not included)
Duration of the walking tour museums included approximately three hours.
The standard price of the walking tour excludes admission fees.