Art and Culture in San Miniato
Such a history could not but leave an important artistic and architectural heritage. A short tour of the town can begin with the central Piazza del Popolo, with its fourteenth century Church of San Domenico, rich with works of art such as a fresco of St. Anselmo. It was attributed by Longhi and Berenson to Masolino da Panicale. An other main object is a sepulchral monument by Donatello.
To the left of the church's facade is the Via Angelica, an underground passageway that connected the city to the countryside citizen. Along it can be seen a chapel and a cloister of an ancient convent that was erected here. It had been confiscated and opened to the populace during Napoleon's rule.
Closed to the square can be found some examples of the Renaissance architecture: the facade of Palazzo Formichini housing the Cassa di Risparmio's Art Collection (with works by Guercino, Lorenzo di Bicci, Jacopo del Sellaio, Cigoli and Giovanbattista Naldini), and Palazzo Grifoni built in 1555 by Giuliano di Baccio d'Agnolo. Here the hills starts going down to the...Proceeding downhill is the octagonal shaped church of the Santissima Annunziata that contains the relics of St. Dorothy, and the Monastery of St. Clare, another museum with works by Cigoli, Deodato Orlandi, Jacopo Chimenti and panels from fifteenth century Sienese and Florentine schools.
The massive fourteenth century Convent of San Francesco is located on the slope of the highest hill and was for many centuries one of the most flourishing Franciscan centres in Tuscany. In the fifteenth century it was run by the Blessed Borromeo and Bernard, who later taught at Oxford and the Sorbonne. On the other side of the hill is the Santissimo Crocifisso, an important Sanctuary in the form of a Greek Cross by Anton Maria Ferri in 1705 containing an 11th century wooden cross that is venerated and thought to be miraculous. In front of the Sanctuary is the Palazzo del Comune (Town Hall), with frescoed rooms and nineteenth century facade, and the Oratorio del Loretino (Oratory of Loretino), with panels by Francesco Lanfranchi, brother of Andrea Del Sarto, and a wooden altar from 1527. As you descend the hill, is the historical Piazza Bonaparte with its monument to Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany by Pampaloni and the Oratory of San Rocco, the ancient chapel of the Buonaparte family.
Lastly, continuing towards the ruined Porta di Poggighisi (Poggighisi Gate), from where Francesco Ferrucci conquered the city in 1530, is the Church of Santa Caterina, altered in the 15th century and housing the skeleton of St. Boniface the martyr, and the sixteenth century Palazzo Migliorati, home today of the Accademia degli Euteleti, where the funeral mask of Napoleon is kept.