The Cathedral of San Miniato, or the Cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio (XII century), overlooks the large square called “Prato del Duomo”.

Façade in Pisan Romanesque

The Duomo also took the name of San Genesio in 1248, when the village of San Genesio on the Via Francigena was destroyed where the archaeological area is now located.

The enigmatic façade in Pisan Romanesque style is covered with bricks where 26 decorated ceramic basins are inserted, whose disposition has made one think of the Chariots of the Bear oriented towards the polar star. The Christian is the pilgrim-navigant, oriented by the Church (polar star) and by the sky (the Chariots) towards paradise.

The neo-renaissance interior

The interior, in neo-Renaissance architectural style with Baroque decoration, has a Latin cross plan with three naves and a richly carved 17th century gilded coffered ceiling.

The bombing of 1944

The Cathedral is sadly linked to the memory of the Allied bombing of 22 July 1944, which accidentally killed 55 people crowded inside the church. The episode, initially and erroneously attributed to the Nazis, inspired the film “La notte di San Lorenzo”, the most famous of the Taviani brothers, originally from San Miniato.

The film of the Taviani brothers

The film “La notte di San Lorenzo”, the most famous of the Taviani brothers, originally from San Miniato, was inspired by the episode just mentioned. The film is set in 1944, in the fictitious village of San Martino, which is actually San Miniato. The film reconstructs the events of August of that year, which culminated in the massacre of 55 people inside the Duomo.

The facade and the interior of the church that you see on the screen are not original but those of the Collegiate Church of Sant’Andrea in Empoli: the Taviani brothers, who were born in San Miniato, felt that using the “real” Duomo would have generated too strong an emotional impact.

“La notte di San Lorenzo” won, at the Cannes Film Festival, the Special Grand Prix of the Jury



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