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Description

There are records of San Miniato that date back to the eighth century when the Lombards built a church dedicated to the martyr Miniato. The history of this important site is linked to numerous famous historical figures.
San Miniato, a strategically important town, a stopping place for pilgrims on the Via Francigena route, was where Frederik II, grandson of Frederick I known as Barbarossa, established the Imperial Vicariate headquarters in Tuscany.
In the seventeenth century, San Miniato became a bishopric and a town seminary was built not far from the Duomo. Apart from Frederik II, another historical figure who came – twice – to San Miniato was Napoleon: the first time to search the archives to find proof of his aristocratic origins, a requirement to enter the French military academy, the second during his Italian Campaign, when he visited an uncle. Unfortunately, part of San Miniato’s Medieval constructions were destroyed by the bombings during World War II, when the Nazis even carried out a massacre in the Duomo, an episode that is described in The Night of San Lorenzo by the Taviani brothers, an emotionally intense film awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.
Not far from San Minato are Cigoli and Corazzano, two medieval towns that are also worth a visit.
Today, San Miniato is primarily known for its wine and fine white truffles.
The town is well preserved, and has remained untouched by its industrial development, since the leather and hide works are all located in the Ponte a Egola hamlet. In San Miniato tourists can enjoy the almost intact historical centre and admire a great hilltop view of the glorious Tuscan landscape dotted with vineyards and olive groves.

Information
Fondazione San Miniato promozione
Piazza del Popolo, 1
56028 San Miniato
t. + 39 0571 42745
www.sanminiatopromozione.it

Geographical area
Valdarno Inferiore

Population
over 27.000

Distance from Pisa
45 km

Culture

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio
The cathedral was built in 1622 when San Miniato became a diocese: it faces piazza Prato del Duomo, together with the Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop’s Palace) and the Palazzo dei Vicari Imperiali (Palace of the Imperial Vicars).

Church of the SS. Crocifisso
Built at the beginning of the eighteenth century, this church is connected to the Town Hall edifice with a stairway. The outside is very simple; inside, the Greek cross plan interior is frescoed with Scenes from the Life of Christ by Anton Domenico Bamberini, and on the high altar, in a tabernacle, is the thirteenth century crucifix for which the church was originally built.

Museo Didattico della Civiltà della Scrittura – Didactic Museum of the Written Word (San Miniato Basso)
Part of the San Miniato museum network, this institution has a mainly didactic function, illustrating how the written word has evolved from its origins to the present day and the tools man has used, from stone to computers.

Pieve di San Giovanni Battista in Corazzano
Attested since 892, this parish church was enlarged at the end of the twelfth century. On the outside, it has an imposing crenelated bell tower, while in the single-nave Latin cross interior holds a sixteenth-century wood pulpit and a fourteenth-century fresco depicting the Madonna and Child attributed to the school of Francesco di Ser Cenni.

Rocca di Federico II (Frederick II’s Fortress)
From the top of the 37-meter tall Tower of Frederick, the view is splendid: the entire Valdarno Inferiore, the Volterra hills, and sometimes a glimpse of the sea in the distance.

Sanctuary Madonna di Cigoli – Artistic Nativity Scene
Every year a nativity scene that faithfully reconstructs the Palestinian landscape is set up in the Sanctuary. Known as the largest “technological nativity scene” of Tuscany, the display employs modern technologies.

Sistema Museale di San Miniato – San Miniato Museum Network
Active since 2000, this network comprises eight art exhibition venues inside public buildings, the Diocese, the Arciconfraternita della Misericordia, Fondazione Conservatorio di Santa Chiara and Accademia degli Euteleti.

San Genesio Archaeological Site
This is probably the site from where the town of San Miniato originated during the thirteenth century. Ceramic fragments dating to the seventh and eighth centuries and remains of the town wall were found in this area that is now an archaeological site.

Quaranthana Theatre
The theatre is named after the ancient parish church that once stood in this same place and that is now part of a small country town called Corazzano: to promote the theatre, the Town of San Miniato has entrusted its management to the Teatro dei Fondi that since 1995 has organized exhibitions, children’s shows, courses and workshops.

Via Angelica
This is an ancient and fascinating itinerary that runs along the right hand wall of the church of Santi Iacopo e Lucia. It leads to three spaces below the church with a notable fifteenth to eighteenth century decorative apparatus.

Crafts

Leather District
There are several important tanneries in San Miniato specialized in the production of leather branded with the “vero cuoio” trademark that is requested for the manufacture of shoes.

Kentucky Tobacco
This very old variety of tobacco is used for the production of the Tuscan cigar.