San Miniato Tour; Otis and his Family

by LaLaItalia

San Miniato sits at a historically strategic location atop three small hills where it dominates the lower Arno Valley between Florence and Pisa. Evidence indicates that the site of the city and surrounding area has been settled since at least the Paleolithic era. It would have been well-known to the Etruscans, and certainly to the Romans, for whom it was a military post called “Quarto”.

The first mention in historical documents is of a small village organized around a chapel dedicated to San Miniato built by the Lombar’s in 783.  The first walls, with defensive towers, were thrown up in the 12th century.  During the latter years of the 13th century and the entire 14th century, San Miniato was drawn into the ongoing conflict between the Ghibelline and Guelph forces.   By 1347 San Miniato was under Florentine control, where it remained, but for brief periods from 1367-1370 and 1777- 1779.  It was still part of the Grand Duchy of Florence when the Duchy was absorbed into the newly-formed Kingdom of Italy in 1860.

Points of interest:

Duomo was dedicated to both Sant’Assunta and Santo Genesio. The cathedral’s capanile is called the Matilde Tower and features an asymmetrical clock.
Diocesan Museum a museum-gallery contains works by Filippo Lippi, Empoli, Neri di Bicci, Fra Bartolomeo, Frederico Cardi and Verrocchio.
Palazzo Comunale, a 4th century building, is still San Miniato’s Town Hall. Its great hall was decorated by Cenno di Francesco Cenni. It also features a small oratory, containing a 16th century altarpiece.
San Domenico, a church originally constructed in the 14th century, has an incomplete façade. Its interior contains terracotta works by Luca della Robbia, a fresco attributed to Masolino da Panicale and a burial monument sculpted by Donatello.


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