San Miniato

San Miniato: discover this small hillside town that lies between the cities of Pisa and Florence and offers its visitors a vast history, breathtaking panoramas and beautiful architecture.

san miniatoThis charming little town sits on the top of three small hills halfway between Florence and Pisa in Tuscany. It has long been exploited for its extremely strategic position. This also means that it constantly had many people passing through its community. For example, the settlement lies on the ancient Via Francigena. This was for a long time the main route between northern Europe and Rome. This made it a hugely popular pilgrimage route. That aside, San Miniato was also a through road for enraged Pisans and Florentines who passed through on their way to defend their lands from each other.

This area saw its first settlers arrive in the Etruscan-Roman era, though little remains from this time. The town does, however, have an impressive rocca, or fortress, that dates back to the late 1st Century. The tower that has long been the symbol of this town dates back roughly 10 Centuries later, when Federico II came to the area. San Miniato’s cathedral, the Duomo, also dates back to the 1200s. That said, its Romanesque architecture underwent various renovations meaning it now displays baroque and gothic elements. The same piazza also holds the Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra which houses many pieces of the Tuscan school and also some 13th-century majolica work taken from the Duomo.

There are many churches and interesting buildings that you can visit within San Miniato. For example, you can visit the 13th-century Franciscan convent and the San Domenico church. The Santuario del Crocifisso is also an interesting sight. The story goes that the Bishop Poggi commissioned this church in order to keep an 11th-century wooden crucifix.

San Miniato is a popular excursion from the nearby Florence and Pisa. It thus benefits from various bus and train connections, making it very easy to access even just for the day.