San Gimignano, the magnificent little walled medieval town, perched on a hill, in the province of Siena, in the very heart of Tuscany’s countryside, is worldwide famous for its unique and “unforgettable skyline”.
The well preserved rests of its medieval architecture still offer, in fact, the incredible scenery of approximately a dozen ancient tower houses standing proudly on the horizon and filling the Tuscany’s blue sky. For this reason, San Gimignano is commonly known as the “Town of Fine Towers”.
Nevertheless, its roots can be found in the Etruscan period. In the 3rd century BC, a small Etruscan village stood, in fact, in the very place where San Gimignano stands today. The history of this village, then a flourishing small town, is punctuated with violent clashes, political discords and even brutal family rivalries, but it has been spared by destruction several times, especially in 450 AD when it was saved by the Bishop Geminianus, the Saint of Modena, from the potential devastation that could have been brought by the cruel warriors of Attila the Hun. The town’s current name goes back to this pivotal savior.
A RAPID DEVELOPMENT
The rapid San Gimignano’s development throughout history is due to its transformation into an important stopping point on the medieval Via Francigena, for all Catholic pilgrims who were traveling towards Rome and the Vatican.
Flourishing centre of agricultural products trade, San Gimignano was especially known for its delicious and precious saffron, which was used for local recipes and to dye textiles, and for its local white wine called Vernaccia and considered, since the Renaissance period, one of Italy’s best white wines.
AN ALMOST OTHERWORLDLY BEAUTY
Renaissance and Gothic palaces, built in the typical Florentine manner, added up to the Medieval houses and monuments. The unique mixture of all these historical legacies transformed San Gimignano in a living treasure. Its historic centre has been, in fact, included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
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