San Gimignano

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The reality of San Gimignano, with its originai 14th-century town planning and architecture stili almost intact, stems above all from the continuity of its history, linked as it was to the ever-changing fortunes of the Fiorentine Republic.
It is thanks to this continuity that 15 out of the 72 towers once standing can still be admired today in a mele of antique noble houses, narrow lanes and squares. One of these, the beautiful Piazza della Cisterna (built in 1327) is undoubtedly the true heart of the town. It is encircled by the Piazza del Duomo (inside the Cathedral are works of art by Benozzo Gozzoli, Jacopo della Quercia and Taddeo di Bartolo), the Podesta's palace, the Town Hall, which houses the Civic Museum (amongst the paintings there hang Lippo Memmi's Majesty, and works by Pinturicchio and Filippo Lippi), and the Romanesque/Gothic Church of Saint Augustine, with 17 frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli illustrating the life of the Saint. A magnificent view over the town can be enjoyed from the only surviving tower of the 14th-century pentagonal Fortress, demolished by the Medicis in 1555.