A Noble City in the heart of Tuscany
credit Riccardo Taddei
San Miniato is located along the Via Francigena that connected northern Europe to Rome during the Middle Ages and it was travelled by an uninterrupted flow of people, armies, trade, ideas and culture. Situated along this route San Miniato was a intersection of roads between Florence, Pisa, Lucca, Siena, Pistoia, San Gimignano, Volterra and Vinci. Mainly, San Miniato developed in the heart of Tuscany.
The entire history of Tuscany, from the Etruscans to the Grand Duchy of Hapsburg-Lorraine, found a meeting point in San Miniato. It is not surprising that San Miniato was a favoured city of emperors and Popes. Fredrick II of Swabia, Pope Gregory V and Eugene IV chose San Miniato as their residence. It is in San Miniato, in 1533 that Painter Michelangelo met with Pope Clement VII and got commissioned to paint the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
Years later, travellers from Europe stopped here during the Grand Tour traval to Rome. Michel de Montaigne recorded his visit in his work "Travel to Italy"; Wolfgang Goethe documented during his journey his stop in San Miniato al Tedesco, where he saw the Rocca, the castle of his fellow countryman Frederick II and the sixteenth-century Accademia degli Affidati.