The Cathedral is undoubtedly among the most significant monuments in San Gimignano. The walls of the church, with a basilica layout, are entirely covered with frescoes depicting the Stories of the New and Old Testament painted by illustrious painters of the 14th-century Sienese school. Also in the square are the Palazzo Comunale and the Torre Grossa, which, due to their exceptionality in the European historical-artistic panorama, constitute, together with the Cathedral, the fulcrum from which each itinerary departs. A visit to the Archaeological Museum, the Santa Fina Apothecary and the Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in the museum complex of the former Conservatory of Santa Chiara completes the itinerary.
The ticket is valid all day during opening hours.
In the Cathedral you can admire a Renaissance jewel: the Santa Fina Chapel, where three renowned Florentine artists worked together: an architect, Giuliano da Maiano; a sculptor, Benedetto da Maiano and a painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio. This ma... more
In the Cathedral you can admire a Renaissance jewel: the Santa Fina Chapel, where three renowned Florentine artists worked together: an architect, Giuliano da Maiano; a sculptor, Benedetto da Maiano and a painter, Domenico Ghirlandaio. This masterpiece is dedicated to San Gimignano's dearest Saint who, suffering as a child from a serious sickness, chose to lie for the rest of her days on a wooden table which, at the moment of her death, bloomed with yellow violets. Every year in March, the violets of Santa Fina bloom luxuriantly amidst the hard stones of the towers that make up the famous outline of the medieval town.
Important painting cycles can be admired in the Town Hall, such as the chivalric-inspired one in the famous Dante Room, so called because it saw presence of the great poet and where Lippo Memmi painted the Maestà in 1317.
The Civic Art Gallery exhibits masterpieces from the Sienese and Florentine schools, including the two large roundels depicting the Annunciation and executed by Filippino Lippi, the large altarpiece with the Virgin of the Assumption and Saints by Pinturicchio, and the elegant artworks by the Florentine artist Benozzo Gozzoli. The Museum also contains the painted marble bust of Santa Fina, created in perfect Renaissance style by sculptor Pietro Torrigiano. As we climb the Torre Grossa, the highest tower in the city, in addition to the view we'll be amazed by an exceptional series of 14th-century frescoes on amorous subjects.
The itinerary also includes the medieval church of San Lorenzo in Ponte, entirely decorated with a cycle of frescoes depicting the afterlife through evocative details of Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.less
San Gimignano Cathedral (from 1st November to 31st March):
Closed on: 16th to 30th November; 25th December; 16th to 31st January; 12th March
Civic Museums (from 1st November to 31st March):
Closed on 25th December; on 1st January open at 12:30 p.m.
By Car from the North:
A1 Milan-Rome motorway southbound - Firenze Impruneta exit. From the exit, take the Firenze-Siena highway to the Poggibonsi Nord exit and follow the road signs for San Gimignano (about 11 km).
By Car from the South:
A1 Rome-Milan motorway northbound - Valdichiana exit. From the exit, follow the signs for Siena. At Siena enter the Raccordo Autostradale towards Firenze - Exit Poggibonsi Nord and follow the road signs for San Gimignano (about 11 Km.).
The Santa Fina Chapel is a masterpiece of Italian art as three great Florentine Renaissance artists worked on it together: Giuliano da Maiano, Benedetto da Maiano and Domenico Ghirlandaio. The chapel is in perfect 15th-century style with elegant scores forming harmonious geometries. The architectural decoration belongs to the sculptor Benedetto da Maiano, who used an admirable invention to make the room more spectacular, namely he faked two open, rolled-up curtains that allow a view of the altar below. Under the altar, which also serves as a monumental tomb, the remains of Santa Fina, the Saint Gimignano's dearest Saint, are kept in a glass urn. Born in 1238 to two of the town's fallen nobles, she died at only 15 years of age in 1253. Struck down at the age of ten by a serious sickness that immobilised her, she accepted suffering for love of Christ and wanted to lie on a wooden board to relive Jesus' Passion on the wood of the Cross. At the moment of her death, announced to her by St Gregory the Great, to whom she was particularly devoted, the table bloomed with yellow violets, known from then on in San Gimignano as the Santa Fina's violets.
San Giovanni Square represents the most significant sacred space in the city of Volterra: it is overlooked by the Cathedral, the ancient Hospital and the Baptistery, which gives its name to this important area of the urban fabric. Explore the heart of this particular walled town and visit its Cathedral, Baptistery, Santa Maria Maddalena Hospital and characteristic palaces with medieval paintings.