Thursday, February 23, 2012

Visiting the Charming Tuscan Town of San Gimingnano

The town of San Gimignano is tucked away in the Tuscan countryside in the province of Siena. From your Tuscany villa rental, you can easily reach this medieval walled town that was founded in the third century BC by the Etruscans. It is probably best known for its production of the white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

As a stopping-off point for Catholics on a pilgrimage to Rome in the Middle Ages and Renaissance Era, the town flourished until the plague hit in the 1348 and it was compelled to submit to the rule of nearby Florence. Today, San Gimignano offers a wealth of history and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. At the centre of its heritage are the Communal Palace, the Collegiata, the Chiesa di Sant'Agustino, and its artistic and cultural contributions.

Communal Palace - Within easy reach of your Tuscany villa rental, in the centre of San Gimignano, is the Communal Palace. Situated near the Collegiata, the palace has been the seat of local government since it was built. Constructed in the 13th century and expanded in the 14th, the Communal Palace now houses a museum and gallery. The gallery, on the second floor, houses works by Fiorentino, Leonardo da Pistoia, Tamagni, Pinturicchio, and other members of the Florentine school.

Collegiata - When you visit San Gimignano on a day out from your Tuscany villa rental, you should schedule in a visit to the Collegiata in the Piazza del Duomo. When San Gimignano had a bishop, this church was the town's cathedral; but later, after the bishop's seat was removed, the Duomo reverted back to a Collegiata (a large church). Its creation began in the 10th century, and while the fa├žade is very plain, the Romanesque interior is known for its art. Frescos by Bartolo, Gozzoli, Fredi, Maiano, adorn the walls of the main hall and the chapels, and the trip is worthwhile even if just to see these.

Chiesa di Sant'Agustino - Wander north of the old duomo and visit the imposing 13th century Chiesa di Sant'Agustino, or Church of St. Augustine. Inside, the large hall of the interior is dominated by the fresco,'The Life of St. Augustine' by Benozzo Gozzoli, which dates from between 1463 and 1467. Also take time to look at the Cappella di San Bartolo, located to the right of the main entrance. It holds the remains of Saint Bartolo and is decorated with a white marble altar by Maiano.

Culture in San Gimignano - After you have been in the town for a few hours and seen the main churches and tried a tipple of the local wine, why not take a stroll and soak up the culture of the city before returning to your nearby Tuscany villa rental? Just one example is that the town is the birthplace of Folgore da San Gimignano, an esteemed poet of the 13th century. He wrote mostly about hunting scenes, and was most famous for his thirty-two sonnets - two of which, 'April' and 'May', were set to music by Italian composer Lorenzo Ferrero, in 1971. Simply by spending time in this gorgeous Tuscan town you will be able to glean many more snippets of the history and culture.

Giovanni Balboni works for To Tuscany, who specialise in finding the perfect Tuscany villa rental in Chianti as well as selected villas in Umbria and Puglia. To Tuscany is proud of their villas and their reputation. Each property is personally selected and visited by our representatives to ensure we offer only the best in the region.

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Tags: Tuscany villa rental, Tuscany travel, San Gimignano, things to do in San Gimingnano


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