Volterra and San Gimignano: itineraries and place to visit close to Florence
San Gimignano and Volterra:
2 medieval jewels close to Florence
After about 1 hour driving through beautiful surrounding valley from Florence centre you can reach San Gimignano and Volterra.
S. Gimignano is an exchanting medieval village that has taken the name of Bishop Gimignano. Volterra is an ancient Etruscans town .
In San Gimignano you can admire the famous towers, you can also see the "Duomo" or Collegiate Church, the "Palazzo del Popolo",
the "Palazzo Nuovo del Podestà" (which is now the town hall), S. Agostino Church.
Volterra after etruscans age became a municipium in the Roman Age. In the fifth century The city was a bishop's residence.
Volterra came under the control of the Medici family and later followed the history of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany
Florence chianti : SAN GIMIGNANO
San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town 50 km (30 miles) far from Florence centre.
It was founded in the 3rd century BC by the Etruscan. the town has its most rich period
in the reinassance (1300-1400) and its tall walls and narrow streets are typical
of that period, but it's the medieval "skyscrapers" that set the town apart from its neighbors.
Today 14 towers remain, but at the height of the Guelph-Ghibelline conflict there was a forest of more than 70.
The history of San Gimignano goes all the way back to the 10th century, when Saint Gimignano, a bishop from Modena,
defended and saved the town. Because of his heroic actions, they decided to name the town after him.
The town was located at the “Via Francigena”, a trading and pilgrim's route.
The Duomo or Collegiate Church, was consecrated in 1148 and is adorned with valuable Sienese School frescoes
There are more paintings from the 13th and 14th centuries in the Palazzo del Podesta.
The palace is also in the Piazza del Duomo. It has a tower that was built in 1300.
The Palazzo del Popolo (People’s Palace) dates back to the 13the century and serves
as the seat of civic power in San Gimignano.
Church of St. Agostino can be reached from the Porta St. Matteo by passing along via Cellolese.
It is a single-aisled hall church with three apsidal chapels and an open roof truss.
It was built by the Augustinian canons between 1280 and 1298, and it represents
a typical example of the Gothic architecture of the mendicant orders in central Italy.
Benozzo Gozzoli, in collaboration with several assistants, produced here his main work,
the decorations of the apsidal chapel of the church in 1464-65.
Florence chianti : VOLTERRA
Volterra is a an ancient, magic and mysterious city founded by the Etruscans.Volterra
is 70 km (43 miles) far from Florence. You can reach it by car or bus crossing the
wonderful Tuscany hills surrounding.
Volterra dominates the Era and Cecina valleys. It also overlooks the unique view of the "Balze", a vast stretch of highly eroded chalk
landscape furrowed by erosion
In the first century BC it gained Roman citizenship, of which it was later deprived by Julius Caesar
(100-44 BC) during the civil wars.
Under the emperor Augustus important monuments were built, such as the Theatre and the Cistern.
By the start of the 12th and 13th centuries tower-houses are built in Volterra, fortresses offering protection
to families engaged in fierce fights for power. The city walls date from the middle of the 13th century,
still perfectly preserved today.
By 1427 Florence had extended its influence over Volterra and troops try to occupy the city,
but fail only to succeed forty years later.
Main museums in volterra are: Etruscan Museum a large collection of artifacts housed in Palazzo dei Priori,
Civic Art Gallery paintings and art works from the Middle Ages to Modern Times and
the Museum of Sacred Art.
VOLTERRA alabaster sculpture
You cannot talk about Volterra without mentioning Alabaster, an artistic handicraft
Etruscan craftsmen carved it to obtain urns to keep the ashes of their dead. Many of these
cinerary urns are now exhibited in the Guarnacci Museum.
Alabaster is a stone that have been handed down for ages from generation to generation, and still
represent one of the highest peaks of the italian artistic handicraf.