Literary, artistic and diplomatic efforts

From 8th May 2021 San Gimignano officially opened the 7th centenary celebrations of Dante Alighieri's death with 'La San Gimignano di Dante', the city of San Gimignano promotes a project which connects the city, its history, and the literary and linguistic heritage of the whole Italian nation.

'La San Gimignano di Dante' is an itinerary that begins in the past, in the free and prosperous city of the Middle Ages, when its towers were built, when the Palazzo Comunale had recently been moved to its current location and the Torre Grossa was being built. A time when San Gimignano was an important crossroads of trade, people and ideas. Dante arrives on 7 May 1300 from Florence as ambassador of the Guelph league, to ask for an alliance with the city of Florence; his diplomatic efforts are among the few documented in the Liber Reformationum preserved in the State Archives. The first stops on the itinerary are in the Palazzo Pubblico with the Chamber of the Podestà and the Dante room, the very place where the Supreme Poet was welcomed by the Councilors and by the Podestà of San Gimignano, Mino dei Tolomei. The flavors of the time have also been included in the itinerary, thinking above all of Vernaccia wine and saffron which, then as now, are the most important products of these countryside with a stop at La Rocca Vernaccia Wine Experience.

We will then discover the iconographies inspired by the hell, purgatory and paradise of the Divine Comedy in the famous cycle by Taddeo di Bartolo at the Collegiata church, but also in the rose window created by the contemporary artist Marcello Aitiani and we will stop in the Church of San Lorenzo in Ponte, where there is a rare example of purgatory painted by Cenni di Francesco di Ser Cenni.

For the occasion, an admirable incunabulum of the Divine Comedy by Matteo Codeca da Parma, dated 1493, with commentary by Landino, will be exhibited in the Church of San Lorenzo in Ponte, thus creating a dialogue between illustrations and frescoes. The work is normally kept in the Municipal Library of San Gimignano, from whose collection also comes the precious fragment of the "Useppi manuscript", dating back to the fourteenth century, exhibited for the first time on this occasion. The Library and the Historical Archives of San Gimignano, also a stage of Dante's itinerary, preserve works of great value and an important catalog, the result of the great work carried out primarily by Ugo Nomi Venerosi Pesciolini who promoted the establishment of the library municipal, inaugurated in 1874.

The itinerary continues in the historic center, where attention is focused on architecture related to the sixth centenary of Dante's death, when it was decided to accentuate the appearance of the fourteenth-century San Gimignano by modifying the San Giovanni gate, to the detriment of the Church of the Lights as well as restoring various buildings in the historic center (Palazzo Marsili now Palazzo della Cancelleria, Casa Razzi, Case Martini, Casa Salvestrini, Casa Semplici, Casa Lorini). 

With the single ticket San Gimignano Pass it will be possible to carry out the entire itinerary of Dante's San Gimignano which begins with a visit to the Palazzo Comunale (Sala Dante and Camera del Podestà), continues in the Duomo and the Church of San Lorenzo in Ponte, up to Municipal Library and Historical Archive of San Gimignano. The itinerary also includes Porta San Giovanni, Palazzo della Cancelleria and the Rocca, where it will be possible to visit the Vernaccia Wine Experience.