Just as the nearby Volterra, San Gimignano (pertaining to the province of Siena) has Etruscan origins and it is also a jewel of well preserved medieval architecture in Tuscany, which is why the center of the town has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Thus, San Gimignano makes its way through in the world of unique tourist destinations by its 15 excellently preserved towers reminding of the more than 70 edifices of this kind which used to overlook the city in the past ages and stand out as an evidence of the thriving trading activities which turned this Siena Province town into a major commercial hub on the so called Via Francigena (the chief connection between Rome and the rest of Europe).

The main tourist hotspots and thoroughfares in San Gimignano refer to Piazza del Duomo, Piazza della Cisterna and Piazza Sant’Agostino, as well as to several roads which make fine promenades around and inside the town, such as Via San Giovanni, Via delle Romite and Vincolo dell’Oro, as well as Via San Matteo. Following this roads, tourists should come across some of the most valuable landmarks in San Gimignano. Some of these highlights refer to the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and the Chapel of Santa Fina, both located in Piazza del Duomo. This square also hosts some historic edifices, such as the Podesta Palace and the Ghibellini-Salvucci building abutted upon the Rognosa Tower and the so called Twin Towers.

Other significant landmarks are represented by the Cugnanesi Tower and by the Becci’s Tower located nearby the Church of San Francesco, by the Pratellesi Palace and by the Becci’s Arch, all stretching along Via San Giovanni. Piazza della Cisterna is the center of the town, and it hosts some of the most noteworthy landmarks in San Gimignano: the Cortesi Palace, the Tortoli-Treccani Palace, the Lupi Palace as well as the Razzi House and the Salvestrini House, not to mention the appealing Tower of the Devil which, for that matter, is worth visiting if not for anything else, than at least for discovering why it is called this way. Le Fonti (the Fountain) and Porta San Matteo also make fine tourist objectives, but, all in all, in order to grasp the architectural richness of San Gimignano one has to make on their own the experience of this Tuscan town.

San Gimignano, Italy

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