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Palazzo Comunale – culture and a climb to the top

  • Palazzo Comunale – culture and a climb to the top

    The Palazzo Comunale, known by different local names, has been the seat of local government since medieval times. This imposing, fortified building dominates the square today, as surely as it has always dominated the lives of local citizens. The Tuscan town hall, with accompanying bell-tower, the Torre Grossa (see above) encapsulates a civic ideal. In the past, it promised a degree of democracy to the merchant guilds, the nobility and the people. On the first floor of the Town Hall is the frescoed Sala di Dante (also known as the Sala del Consiglio), recording Dante’s visit in 1299. On display is a gorgeous array of medieval art, notably Lippo Memmi's early-14th-century Maestà: the enthroned Virgin and Child is surrounded by angels, saints and dignitaries, including the kneeling podestà, the town’s leading magistrate of the time. The floor above displays moral lessons on good and bad government, much as in Siena.

    The second floor houses the Pinacoteca, the Picture Gallery, which features works dating from the 13th to the 15th century. Among the museum’s many good paintings is a set of early 14th-century frescoes by Memmo di Filippuccio – rare in that they depict secular rather than religious scenes. Known as the Wedding Frescoes, these scenes show a young bride and groom sharing a bath and climbing into their nuptial bed – an intimate glimpse into the private life of medieval Italy.


    Address: Piazza del Duomo,
    San Gimignano


    Tel: 0577 286300
    Web: www.sangimignanomusei.it

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