Collegiata di San Gimignano
If you’ve been searching for things to do in Tuscany, there’s no doubt that you’ll find countless great choices. Whether you’re looking to enjoy the beautiful countryside or try delicious foods, there’s typically always something for tourists to immerse themselves in. With so many incredible landmarks, like the Uffizi Gallery or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, you’re sure to find that you’ll also be able to explore the many towns and see some amazing sites during your stay.
Just a quick search on the internet is likely to show you that there is a wide variety of options just waiting for you in this breathtaking Italian region – but one site that you certainly won’t want to miss out on is the Collegiate Church of San Gimignano.
What is there to see and do in San Gimignano?
Practically anyone who’s planning a vacation in Tuscany will want to take the time to explore the beauty of the medieval hilltop town of San Gimignano. Many tourists opt to visit the better known parts of the region (like Siena, Florence, or Rome), but there’s an unmistakable beauty to San Gimignano that you’ll want to see for yourself.
This part of Tuscany truly has so much to offer holidaymakers. From the beauty of the ancient structures, to the friendly locals and stunning views of Tuscan landscapes; there really is so much to love. Many people come to enjoy the skyline of medieval towers, which is the reason why the town’s nickname is “the Manhattan of the Middle Ages”.
Unfortunately, most visitors to the region don’t spend too long exploring this town, and if you’re one of the individuals who only has a limited amount of time to stop by, you’ll certainly want to make some room for the Collegiate Church on your itinerary.
The Collegiate Church of San Gimignano
Also known as the Duomo of San Gimignano, and Collegiata di San Gimignano, this landmark is a favorite amongst locals and tourists for a number of reasons. If you decide to come for a visit yourself, you’re sure to see exactly why so many tend to fall in love with this church.
Incredible fresco cycles
There might be many things that make this site such an incredible place for holidaymakers; although most will agree that one of the greatest things of all are the amazing frescoes that adorn the church walls. The Duomo is full of stunning paintings, and despite being created during the 1300s the frescoes have never been restored. You’re likely to find that they certainly don’t need much repairing, either.
Some of them do have slight issues – as you would expect from frescoes that were not only painted 700 years ago, but also survived a bombing during World War 2. Despite this, most of them are still bright and colorful, barely any different to how they looked when they were first painted.
Upon entering, you’ll be greeted with the sight of a stunning fresco of the Old Testament on the right wall – and this incredible painting was made by the brilliant Bartolo di Fredi. You’ll also see an amazing fresco cycle depicting the story of the New Testament too – although the artist behind this isn’t known. All that is known is that it was painted by an individual inside Simone Martini’s workshop. Simone was in France at the time, so it definitely wasn’t him; so who did paint this piece? Many people speculate that it was his brother Donato Martini, although it could instead have been made by Lippo Memmi (his brother-in-law), or Federico Memmi (Lippo Memmi’s brother).
The Santa Fina Chapel
Nobody can deny that this chapel, which is dedicated to Santa Fina, is an absolutely beautiful addition to the church. One thing that you’re sure to notice is that the style is quite different to the rest of the Romanesque church – and this is because the chapel was made during the Renaissance era. Created by Domenico Ghirlandaio (the artist behind the chapel’s beautiful frescoes), Giuliano da Maiano (the architect who designed the structure), and Benefetto da Maino (the sculptor of the fine details), the Santa Fina Chapel is a truly spectacular site.
Most would agree that it’s well worth a visit – especially for anyone who’s considering exploring the main parts of the Duomo of San Gimignano. There are many things that make this chapel an interesting location, like the fact that Santa Fina’s remains are buried under the main altar.
Ghirlandaio, along with a little help from his brother David Ghirlandaio and Sebastiano Mainardi, painted masterpieces on the left and right walls of this chapel. Ghirlandaio’s work is famous around the world, so you certainly won’t want to miss out on the opportunity to see these stunning frescoes. One of the main reasons why so many people love this artist’s work is because of all the small details that he puts into his pieces, which often help to make them feel so much more lifelike.
The Museum of Sacred Art
This adjoined museum has plenty on display for tourists to enjoy – and because of this, you’re sure to want to pay it a visit. Many of the museum’s treasures actually come from Collegiata di San Gimignano; although there are artefacts from nearby religious sites and churches, too.
So many people pass through the Duomo without taking the time to stop by the Museum of Sacred Art – and these individuals are certainly missing out. From pieces of broken frescoes, to religious relics; there are a number of things that make this museum special.
Spend a few hours taking in the beauty of the Duomo of San Gimignano
You’re sure to find that you won’t have enough time to see all that San Gimignano has to offer, and when you consider the fact that there’s plenty more to enjoy in Tuscany, you might just overlook a few landmarks. Make certain that you take the time to fit this stunning church in when you visit the medieval hilltop town. With so much on offer, it’s not hard to understand why so many individuals love this religious site – and you’re likely to feel the same way.