San Gimignano

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On a green hill in the Val d’Elsa in 1119 gathers strength as a free city, the town where the rich families of half of the twelfth century and stood at the head of strife between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, expressed by rising (or abasement, for the rival defeated) from the famous tower houses. In the Piazza del Duomo Museum (a major collection of Florentine and Sienese art ranging from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century) is housed in the thirteenth-century Palazzo del Popolo. On the same square and Romanesque St. Maria Assunta (XII century), in a real marvel, filled with colors Bartolo di Fredi, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Benozzo Gozzoli and Taddeo di Bartolo. It replicates the high artistic quality and sober church of the monastery of St. Agostino (1280-98) with frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli for the Chapel of St. Bartolo (sculpted by Benedetto da Majano in 1494-95), and that the altarpiece painted in 1483 Piero Pollaiuolo. A curious exhibition is the Museum of Medieval Criminology and the Inquisition, whose extensive historical research deals with the torture instruments used for centuries and the practice of the Inquisition. Many of the artifacts are original.