San Miniato is a gorgeous town on the Via Francigena with some interesting history and architecture. If you are walking in Tuscany you will pass through this hidden gem. The climb up to it is quite steep, but you’ll be well rewarded when you arrive!
San Miniato rests between the valleys of two large rivers, Egola and Elsa. You will see the red brick buildings of this town poking out from amongst the green landscape as you approach. Like most towns on the via Francigena, it sits on top of a large hill for protection.
San Miniato has always been an important part of the via Francigena. In medieval times it was a major stopping point for pilgrims and trade that was moving between Lucca and Sienna. The Romans named the town Quarto and it was an important military base at that time.
The first mention of the town in literature occurred in 783 but it grew in importance from the 10th to the 13th century. During these decades, the town became known as el Tedesco. The imperial vicars who ruled Tuscany were based here, a source of great pride to the town.
San Miniato was destined to become under the control of |Florence by 1347. Although some rebellions took place the hilltop town remained under Florentine leadership until 1860 when it became part of the newly formed Kindom of Italy.
Best things to do in San Miniato Today
The Cathedral or Duomo
This Latin cross church is a fine example of Romanesque architecture, with some Gothic influence. The Mathilde tower connected to the cathedral is great for an iconic photo.
Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra
Italy is famous for art, and there are some great examples of why bright here in San Miniato. These Museum houses paintings dating back to the 13th century.
The Tuscan Renaissance produced some beautiful and iconic architecture. The Pallazzo Grifioni is a fabulous palace that was constructed during the period. Although it was bombed in 1944 during World War IID War II, it has since been restored to its former glory.
The hill in San Miniato rewards you with gorgeous panoramic views of the Tuscan countryside. It’s also home to Frederick’s tower a sight for many battles throughout history.
For more information on any of our Via Francigena walking or cycling tours, please contact the travel specialists.