Global Treasures SAN GIMIGNANO Tuscany, Italy
Surrounded by a double wall that dates back to medieval times and amid the gentle undulating hills of Tuscany, is the town of San Gimignano, with its striking 15 towers that were built by competing aristocratic families. The towers were considered to be of great prestige and also provided a means of defense.
Competition to construct the tallest tower became increasingly fierce until a special decree curtailed the mindless indulgence of the local aristocracy. The town’s prosperity came to a sudden end and in 1348, the plague killed thousands of its inhabitants.
Located next to the cathedral, the Palazzo Comunale contains numerous works of art. Since it was built at the end of the 13th century, it has been extended many times. Frescos adorned with several of the town’s historic symbols decorate the walls of a tranquil inner courtyard. The 14th century was a prosperous time for many of the townsfolk. At a height of 54 metres, even today, the Communal Palace’s Torre Grossa rises above each one of the town’s further towers.
For several centuries, San Gimignano’s towers have been a prominent part of the town’s noble silhouette amid the captivating landscape of Tuscany.
Global Treasures - History''s Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa''s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world''s heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.