Tour of the Sienese
Through the gentle hills of Siena
- Spoken language:
Schengen Area: ID card or passport
Extra U.E.:short stays (3 months) passport valid at least three months after the departing date and if need be visa
- Power and Sockets:
- 230 V / 50 Hz - F Type Plug (Schuko) and L Type Plug
In the north-western part of the province of Siena, the historic center of San Gimignano is one of the most evocative corners of Tuscany, with its dense network of towers that catch the eye of every tourist, and that in the thirteenth century were more than 70. Formerly a feud of the bishops of Volterra and first of Etruscan and Roman settlements, San Gimignano was liberated in the 13th century and fell definitively under Florence a century and a half later. It is precisely this dependence that allows us to admire it intact in its medieval aspect, which became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The San Giminiano visit begins on the southern side of the city, where the Porta San Giovanni opens in the splendid city wall that completely surrounds the historic center. The other gates of the city are respectively the Porta alle Fonti, the San Jacopo gate, the Porta San Matteo to the north and the Quercecchio gate to the west. Entering from Porta San Giovanni the center winds along the direct and slightly ascending Via San Giovanni, flanked by elegant buildings with the austere profile of the towers towards the city center. The Arco dei Becci leads to Piazza della Cisterna, which is a magnificent introduction to the nearby Piazza del Duomo, one of the most beautiful medieval squares in Italy and the world, with a herringbone brick pavement and some fine houses, such as the Palazzo Tortoli-Treccani and the Razzi house. The heart of the city lies between Piazza Cisterna and Piazza del Duomo, where Palazzo del Podestà is located, with its Torre Rognosa, which is 51 meters tall and is the highest in San Gimignano. In the heart of the city centre are other towers, among which we mention the Torre del Diavolo and the two towers of the Ardinghelli, famous for their slight asymmetry, even if they are twin buildings. However, the most important monument in the center is the Collegiata, a Romanesque church from the 13th century, which preserves valuable works of art. The visit concludes along the Via di San Matteo and up to the Church of Sant’Agostino, a Romanesque building with Gothic elements, custodian of a series of valuable works of art including the frescoes of the Life of St. Augustine, production of Benozzo Gozzoli and a Coronation of Mary performed by the Pollaiolo. From Sant’Agostino you can return to Porta San Giovanni along the same route, or choose an alternative route that leads to Piazza della Cisterna via the Via delle Romite and Via del Castello.
The best place to photograph all 15 towers is just west of the centre, going up Via Quercecchio up to the Rocca di Montestaffoli, of which few ruins remain. However, a tower of the walls has resisted the action of the time, and from its top it is possible to enjoy an extraordinary panorama of the old town center and its towers.
Official website of the city
For general information visit the site:
Tourist Information Office
Associazione Pro Loco San Gimignano
Piazza del Duomo, 1 – San Gimignano
Tel. +39 0577 940008
Fax +39 0577 940903
Fire Department 115
Healthcare Emergency 118
Travel Informed (CCISS) 1518
San Gimignano enjoys a continental climate, with cold winters and hot and rather dry summers. There is no longer a period to visit the city, as every season has its charm. The greyness of winter makes the profile of the towers even more suggestive, with the mist you will almost feel confused and lost in nothingness, in summer and spring in the blue sky white clouds run after each other, while the autumn lights up with red and orange reflections. In winter, however, the hotel offer is smaller, which makes a reservation convenient.
Poggibonsi Km. 12
Certaldo Km. 12
Colle di Val d’Elsa Km. 15
Castelfiorentino Km. 22
Volterra Km. 31
Greve in Chianti Km. 39
Siena Km. 44
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