The Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall), built in 1288, houses the “historic” seat of the Musei Civici (Civic Museums) of San Gimignano. A walk through the museum lets visitors admire famous fresco cycles conveying the sense of civic pride that has always animated this government palace.
On the first floor is the ancient Sala del Consiglio (Council Room), also known as the Sala di Dante (Hall of Dante) in memory of the Florentine poet’s visit to San Gimignano in 1299 as embassador of the Guelph league. Frescoes here show scenes of the hunt and a tournament dedicated to Charles of Anjou, painted by Azzo di Masetto (1290 circa). The room is dominated by the magnificent Maestà by the Sienese painter Lippo Memmi (1317), inspired by the masterpiece that Memmi’s brother-in-law Simone Martini had painted in the Sala del Mappamondo at Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico in 1315.
On the second floor are the Camera del Podestà (Chamber of the Podestà), decorated with delightful scenes of earthly love painted by Memmo di Filippuccio from 1303 to 1310, and the rooms of the Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery) where fundamental examples from San Gimignano’s history of artistic commissions may be admired. Florentine art is represented here (Coppo di Marcovaldo) as is Sienese art (Rinaldo), from the second half of the 1200s and on through to the Golden Age of the Sienese School during the second half of the 1300s. The alternation between the Sienese and the Florentines is shown during the transition from the 1300s to the 1400s (Taddeo di Bartolo, Lorenzo di Niccolò and the “Maestro of 1419”), leading up to the definitive dominance of the Florentines (Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Sebastiano Mainardi) who contributed to the Renaissance renewal of San Gimignano, and finally the ultimate zenith achieved by the great altarpiece that Pinturicchio painted in 1511.
From the Pinacoteca gallery, it is possible to gain access to the Torre Grossa (Great Tower), erected from 1300 to 1311, which provides a breathtaking, panoramic view of the entire city and on to the surrounding countryside of the Valdelsa, all the way to the mountains of Pistoia and the Apuan Alps.
Maestà, Lippo Memmi (1317): the Virgin is shown here as the protector of the city and the inspiration for good governance by the political class, represented by the person who commissioned the work, the Sienese Nello di Mino de’ Tolomei, Captain of the population and of the Podestà.
San Gimignano in trono con otto storie della sua vita (Saint Geminian on a Throne, with eight stories from his life), Taddeo di Bartolo (1401): on his lap, the Benedictine bishop protectively holds a representation of the Medieval city showing its defensive walls and its tall towers.
Madonna Assunta e i Santi Gregorio Magno e Papa Benedetto (Assumption of the Virgin with Saints Gregory the Great and Pope Benedict), Bernardino di Betto, known as Pinturicchio (1511): a young Madonna elevated, delicately and solemnly, over graceful countryside with elegant colours.
Call Center: 0577 286300
from 8th May 2021
Everyday, 10am to 6pm (last entry 5.30pm)
Per prenotare 0577 286300 oppure email@example.com (disponibili anche prenotazioni online).
a single ticket, valid for two days, to access all the museums
regular: € 9,00
reduced: € 7,00
children under 6 years
San Gimignano, with its famous, storybook-like towered skyline, has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, and it is must-see for visitors eager to discover the wonders of the surrounding countryside in the province of Siena. Founded during the Etruscan Period, growing as an Etruscan and then Roman settlement, San Gimignano became part of the fiefdom of the Bishops of Volterra. It won its freedom during the 1200s before coming under the rule of Florence a century later. The city is built on the ancient layout crossed by the route of the Via Francigena in a north-south direction (from Porta San Matteo to Porta San Giovanni). At the highest point of the hill are the two main piazzas, which have always served as the centre of activity in the city and have for centuries now been admired by visitors from around the world. There is the Piazza della Cisterna, and the Piazza del Duomo, lined with impressive buildings and with the highest tower-houses in the city: the Rognosa, which reaches up 52 metres beside the Palazzo del Podestà, and the Torre Grossa, the symbol of the city’s might. Winding among the tall towers and magnificent alleyways that unfailingly provide unexpected and unforgettable views, a walk through the town is never complete unless it includes a visit to the Rocca di Montestaffoli, the Church of Sant’Agostino and the splendid Cathedral.