• San Gimignano
    San Gimignano

San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, owes this award to its towers.  Once there were 72 but now only thirteen; they give character to the elegant town in the province of Siena. Its worldwide fame is due not only to its particular architecture, but especially to the wealth of art and to Vernaccia di San Gimignano a fine white wine which is only produced here. It seems that the variety had been introduced for the first time in the town of San Gimignano by a certain Vieri de' Bardi, from Liguria, around the thirteenth century. It was later his descendants, Zanobi and Angiolo Bardi, who first started growing the grape variety that was to become very popular and famous. Back in1276 there was a flourishing trade in Vernaccia di San Gimignano so much so that, in the "Ordinamenti della Gabella" issued by the Town of San Gimignano that year, of "three coin" tax was introduced for every mule-borne load of Vernaccia outside the Town. Not to be missed is the Duomo; completed in 1148, it is considered one of the most prestigious museums in Tuscany. Built on three naves it has frescoes by the Florentine School painters: St. Sebastian (Benozzo Gozzoli), Stories of Santa Fina by Domenico Ghirlandaio and Wooden Statues by Jacopo della Quercia. Also of interest is the Town Hall, which formerly housed the mayor's office. It currently houses the civic museum and the art gallery containing masterpieces by artists such as: Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino. Also inside the Town Hall you can visit Dante's hall with the Majesty by Lippo Memmi and you can access the Torre del Podestà, or Big Tower, 54m high and dating back to 1311.