The Duomo of San Gimignano
by Tours of Tuscany
The Duomo of San Gimignano
There’s so much to see and do in Tuscany – all it takes is a quick search on the internet to pull up a wide variety of excellent things that this location has to offer, including iconic landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the world’s greatest art museum, the Uffizi Gallery.
While there are certainly an endless amount of opportunities waiting for you in this stunning region, you’ll want to make certain that you don’t miss out on paying a visit to the Duomo of San Gimignano, also known as Collegiata di San Gimignano, and the Collegiate Church.
The stunning town of San Gimignano
Planning a vacation to Tuscany any time soon? If so, you won’t want to pass up the chance to explore San Gimignano. There’s no shortage of great places for you to enjoy during your stay, but there are quite a few reasons why you should consider spending at least a couple of hours in the area.
There’s so much to love about this medieval hilltop town; from the stunning architecture, to the ancient atmosphere. You’ll find that there are many landmarks here that you just can’t miss out on seeing. For example, the town is often known as the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages” due to the skyline of medieval towers – and these are structures that you simply can’t overlook when visiting this town.
With so much to experience and enjoy, many pass through without taking the time to truly soak up the beauty of the many magnificent sites. One that you’re sure to want to take a closer look at however, is the Duomo of San Gimignano. If you only have a limited time to explore, you may just find that a trip to this stunning landmark will be well worth it.
Why check out the Duomo of San Gimignano?
This site has quite a few names (like the Collegiate Church, and Collegiata di San Gimignano), and more than a few fans, thanks to how beautiful it is. You’re likely to find that there are a number of things that make this site such a wonderful place to visit, and it’s these that will make your experience so memorable and special.
Undoubtedly the best things about this religious landmark are the interior walls of the structure, as they’re full of absolutely stunning frescoes. A fact that many people find interesting about this site in particular is that the frescoes have never really needed to be restored – and this is even more impressive when you consider that they were painted during the 1300s.
While not all of them are perfect (some are missing pieces due to bombings in WW2), most are just as colourful today as they were when the brush first touched the wall. At a glance, many of those that stop by wouldn’t even know that each is in excess of 700 years old!
The first painting you’ll see when you enter is the fresco cycle depicting the story of the Old Testament on the right, and this stunning piece was painted by Bartolo di Fredi. On the right wall by the altar is the fresco cycle of the New Testament – and you may be surprised to hear that the artist behind this stunning work is unknown. Since it was painted by someone in Simone Martini’s workshop, historians and art critics often theorize that the artist was either Donato Martini (Simone’s brother), Lippo Memmi (his brother-in-law), or Federico Memmi (Lippo’s brother).
Santa Fina Chapel
The Chapel of Santa Fina is located within the Duomo of San Gimignano, and you’re sure to want to see this stunning religious site for yourself while exploring the church. The Renaissance-style of this chapel makes it quite distinct from the rest of the Romanesque styled building, which is another reason why you should take the time to enjoy everything that the chapel has to offer. Three experts from Florence, a painter (Ghirlandaio), one sculptor (Benefetto da Maiano), and one architect (Giuliano da Maiano), came together to create this dedicated chapel to Santa Fina, the saint of San Gimignano – and the result is undoubtedly fantastic.
There are plenty of things to love about this portion of the church, and there are a number of interesting little details that could easily be missed – like the fact that the remains of Santa Fina are buried under the chapel’s main altar.
The frescoes that decorate the left and right walls of this stunning room were painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio, with a little help from his brother and brother-in-law. These painting make the room so beautiful that you simply can’t pass up on the opportunity to see them for yourself! While the scenes are magnificent in themselves, many people find that it’s Ghirlandaio’s ability to add in little details, such as ordinary household objects, that make them so special and almost lifelike.
The adjoined museum
The Museum of Sacred Art is connected to the church as well, and is considered to be worth a visit for anyone who wants to enjoy even more of this beautiful location. Inside the museum you’ll find several incredible treasures that have been taken not just from Collegiata di San Gimignano, but also from other churches in the area, too.
While the Museum of Sacred Art is typically overlooked, it certainly allows visitors to appreciate the little extra elements of history and art that it has to offer. From pieces of broken frescoes, to religious artifacts; there are so many things that you are sure to want to take in before leaving.
Don’t miss out on the chance to stop by the Collegiate Church of San Gimignano
You’ll find that there are many, many different things that you can enjoy in San Gimignano – and even more in the whole of the region. However, with everything that this church brings to life (from the frescoes, to the almost magical religious atmosphere), it’s not hard to see why it’s considered to be a hidden gem. If you come for a visit, you won’t regret it.