Over the centuries San Miniato has been one of the most important cities in Tuscany. Being equidistant from some of the most famous cities such as Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Volterra and San Gimignano, it has been at the center of numerous battles to gain power over it. San Miniato has a millennial history and still today preserves some of the most ancient places like the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio with the Tower of Matilde, the Rocca of Federico II that dominates the whole valley, the Church of Santissimo Crocifisso and much more!
Discover the beautiful places of San Miniato
What to see
What to see in our small medieval village of San Miniato
San Miniato al tedesco
Over the centuries many famous people have passed or stayed in San Miniato: some German Emperor during the medieval period (not by chance San Miniato was also called “San Miniato al Tedesco”), Pope Clemente VII (second Pope of the Medici Family, one of the most powerful family in Florence), Michelangelo Buonarroti, Napoleone Bonaparte, Giosuè Carducci…
Tips on how to reach and park in San Miniato
How To Arrive
San Miniato is easily accessible from everywhere and with any vehicle.
From the A1 highway (Autostrada del Sole), take the Firenze Scandicci exit and, after a short connection, take the Firenze-Pisa-Livorno main road (FI-PI-LI). Exit San Miniato.
From the A12 highway, for those coming from South, exit at the Collesalvetti tollbooth and, after a short connection, take the main Florence-Pisa-Livorno (FI-PI-LI) road. For those coming from the North, take the Pisa-centro exit and, after a short connection, take the large Florence-Pisa-Livorno road (FI-PI-LI). Exit San Miniato.
San Miniato is served by the Florence-Pisa railway line
San Miniato-Fucecchio station
Galileo Galilei Airport Pisa
Florence Amerigo Vespucci Airport
If you prefer to reach San Miniato by walking, we recommend you the beautiful Via Francigena!
On the streets of San Miniato, discover what to see
Rocca of Federico II
From the highest part of the city, she look at us every day, like a giant protecting his city. Undisputed symbol of the city of San Miniato is “La Rocca” or the Tower of Federico II. It dominates the entire valley and if we climb to the top we can admire the whole surrounding area: a breathtaking view! Built in the 13th century by the German Emperor Federico II of Svevia, together with the Tower of Matilde and the now destroyed Torre della Cornacchia, it was one of the fulcrums of the fortified city. Everything could be controlled from up there. The “Rocca” was destroyed during the Second World War but was rebuilt in 1958 thanks to the architect Renato Baldi and the engineer Emilio Brizzi.
Palace of Imperial Vicars and Bishop’s PalaceVescovile
In the square called “Prato del Duomo” there are two ancient buildings: Palazzo Vescovile (the Bishop’s house) and Palazzo dei Vicari. The latter owes its name to the fact that in ancient times it was the residence of the Vicars of the Emperor, those who controlled and administered the city. Palazzo Vescovile was built around the 13th century and houses the residence of the Bishop of San Miniato .
Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio
The main church of the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio which overlooks the large square called “Prato del Duomo“, the oldest part of the city that unites the Cathedral with the Tower of Matilde, Palazzo Vescovile and the Palazzo dei Vicari Imperiali. Today it’s famous for its “enigmatic” facade and for having been the scene of a massacre on 22 July 1944 during Second World War. His bell tower is called Torre di Matilde because, according to legend, the Grancontessa Matilde di Canossa was born in the nearby Palazzo Dei Vicari. Today it can be visited and from its top you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view.
Sanctuary of SS.Crocifisso
Another beautiful church in San Miniato is the Sanctuary of Santissimo Crocifisso. It was built around the 16th century, mainly to house a crucifix considered miraculous. It’s located just below Prato del Duomo and from here you have a beautiful view of the Rocca. Although the external decoration is very simple, the interior gives a series of baroque decorations that will leave you breathless.
Located in Piazza della Repubblica (also known as Piazza del Seminario) the Palace of Episcopal Seminary dominates the surrounding area with its beauty and majesty. Built around 1650, for the formation of the clergy, at the time it hosted 12 clerics and follows the progress of the ancient city walls. Outside we can admire beautiful frescoes and inscriptions in Latin: today it’s one of the most famous buildings in San Miniato.
Church of Santi Jacopo e Lucia
The Church of San Domenico, formerly know as “The Church of the Saints Jacopo and Lucia” is another of the main churches of the city. It overlooks Piazza del Popolo, one of the most famous squares in the city that hosts shows, parties, stalls and much more during the year. Without a facade, the church of San Domenico has origins dating back to the 16th century and is one of the most beautiful churches we have thanks to the contribution of the wealthy families of the city: the wealthiest took up the patronage and many altars and chapels that we find inside still bear their names. Over the centuries it has undergone many changes and restorations, including the beautiful cloister which today is occupied by the municipal library and by MU.ME, the memory museum.
Santa Chiara Conservatory
The Santa Chiara Conservatory is one of the most important institutions of San Miniato, aimed to education and culture, was founded thanks to the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1785.
Dating from the thirteenth century, it housed a monastery of Poor Clares who subsequently had to abandon the seclusion to become a Franciscans oblates.
The monumental building still faces majestic and imposing today, hiding stories and works of art of immense value. Inside the church we find the Museum of Santa Chiara where it is possible to admire masterful works created by artists such as Jacopo Chimenti (called l’Empoli), Ludovico Cardi (called Il Cigoli), Deodato Orlandi and many others! The collection also includes wonderful altar frontals made with silk embroidered by nuns, reliquaries and liturgical furnishings.
The Euteleti Academy was founded in 1822 by the future bishop of San Miniato Torello Pierazzi and the poet Pietro Bagnoli and today it is one of the oldest institutions in the city.
The Euteleti are “men of good will who pursue a good end” and who spread wisdom, science and letters: today the Academy is still active, organizing scientific exhibitions and conferences and is a reference point for the city of San Miniato.
The headquarters is located in Palazzo Migliorati, in Piazza XX Settembre and houses a wonderful library and a plaster cast of the face of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Via Angelica and the Oratory of Sant’Urbano
Palazzo Comunale Loretino Oratory
The Loretino Oratory is a small chapel dedicated to the Madonna of Loreto. It is a jewel of Medieval and Renaissance works which is located on the ground floor inside the Town Hall. Born as a private chapel of the rulers, it also became a religious place for the local community in 1399 when the wooden image of the Holy Crucifix was brought there. Legend has it that the sacred object had arrived in San Miniato brought by two mysterious wayfarers, perhaps two angels who left it in the home of a humble widow locked in a box from which a strange light filtered at night. To preserve the precious simulacrum, a precious Gothic-style gate was affixed and later the chapel was frescoed with scenes from the childhood of Christ and the Passion and other religious subjects. The back wall of the Oratory was enriched with a gilded wooden altar with painted tables and in the niches the 2 patron saints of the city, San Genesio patron saint of the actors and San Miniato. In 1718 the Crucifix was transported to the Sanctuary dedicated to the famous effigy and a Madonna of Loreto was placed in the central niche.
Palazzo Comunale Sala delle 7 Virtù
Sala delle 7 Virtù is located inside the Town Hall of San Miniato and it is the most ancient room in the building. It dates back to 1300 and was the place where the 12 Lords administered the “libero Comune” after the death of Federico II.
The name “Sala delle 7 Virtù” indicates the 7 theological and cardinal virtues: caution, justice, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope and charity.
The room is beautifully decorated with frescoes, heraldic insignia and coats of arms of the 15th century affixed by Florentine vicars and noble families.
There is also a representation of the Virgin Mary suckling the child painted by Francesco di Ser Cenni commissioned by a vicar of the Guicciardini family.
The room is part of the Town Hall Museum and it is nowadays used to celebrate civil weddings in the Town Hall.
Palazzo Comunale Council Hall
The Council Hall is part of the Palazzo Comunale Museum. It is the place where the meetings of the City Council are held and can be visited on some days of the week. The hall dates back the eighteenth century and was frescoed and decorated in neo-Gothic style in 1928 by the Canon Francesco Maria Galli Angelini with episodes from San Miniato’s life. While in the adjacent Sala delle 7 Virtù the coats of arms were mainly of Florentine vicars, here we can find paintings and insignia of the various podesterias and episodes of the period between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Among the notable characters we find:
- Captain Baron Mangiadori, a well-known knight who, “with his arm and council powerfully cooperated in the victory of Campaldino where Dante fought”, battle mentioned in “Purgatory” (V 85-129).
- The storyteller Franco Sacchetti, Mayor of the city at the end of the 13th century who wrote “Trecentonovelle” in San Miniato, a collection with episodes dedicated to San Miniato written in the style of the commoners and bourgeois of the time.
- The leader Francesco Sforza who was Duke of Milan, first of the dynasty born in Cigoli (a district of San Miniato) in 1401.
Church of San Francesco
Founded around the twelfth century, probably where an oratory dedicated to San Miniato already stood, the large complex of the Church and Monumental Convent of San Francesco is one of the best known places in the city. According to the documents, the building was donated to St. Francis of Assisi around 1211 and was subsequently expanded over the centuries: in fact, the signs of the ancient structure can still be seen on the facade of the church.
In the refectory it is possible to admire a canvas representing the dinner between San Francesco and Santa Chiara by Carlo Bambocci while other works of great value are located inside the Church, such as the wooden crucifix attributed to Giuliano di Baccio D’Agnolo or the assumption of the Virgin attributed to Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio.
Today the complex is a place of worship and pilgrimage where it is possible to stay overnight, organize dinners and events.
Church of Santissima Annunziata
The Church of Santissima Annunziata is another place of worship. Before the current construction, in the same place, the Oratory of the Compagnia della Santissima Annunziata stood, which donated the new church to the Augustinian friars.
Although from outside it may arouse little curiosity, inside it hides a finely decorated ambience in Baroque style, with statues and frescoes maintained over the centuries thanks to the legacies of the Roffia and Grifoni families, who had patronage here. The dome is frescoed by the painter Antonio Domenico Bramberini while on the altar there is a detached fresco of the Annunciation that tells a singular legend.