Introduction of San-Gimignano
Town, in Siena province, Tuscany region, 18 mi SWof Siena. A picturesque medieval town named for thefourth-century bishop who freed the area from barbariancontrol, San Gimignano has 13th-centurywalls, its Palazzo del Popolo, Palazzo del PodestР°, 13medieval towers remaining of an original 72, palaces,an art-filled 12th-century cathedral, and frescoes byBenozzo Gozzoli in the 13th-century church of St.Augustine. In the 12th and 13th centuries, during thewars between Florence, Pisa, and Siena for control ofTuscany, San Gimignano managed to retain a balancedindependence. The city had fallen under thedomination of Florence by 1250 but again managedto gain its freedom. At the heart of the Guelph-Ghibellineconflicts, it was where Dante delivered aspeech supporting the Guelphs in 1300. By 1350 itwas again under Florentine control. Its towers, builtby its rival noble families as symbols of their power,still combine to resemble a modern American cityseen from a distance.