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Collegiata Review

The town's main church is not officially a duomo (cathedral), because San Gimignano has no bishop. But behind the simple facade of the Romanesque Collegiata lies a treasure trove of fine frescoes, covering nearly every part of the interior. Bartolo di Fredi's 14th-century fresco cycle of Old Testament scenes extends along one wall. Their distinctly medieval feel, with misshapen bodies, buckets of spurting blood, and lack of perspective, contrasts with the much more reserved scenes from the Life of Christ (attributed to 14th-century artist Lippo Memmi), painted on the opposite wall just 14 years later. Taddeo di Bartolo's otherworldly Last Judgment (late 14th century), with its distorted and suffering nudes, reveals the great influence of Dante's horrifying imagery in The Inferno and was surely an inspiration for later painters. Proof that the town had more than one protector, Benozzo Gozzoli's arrow-riddled St. Sebastian was commissioned in gratitude after the locals prayed to the saint for relief from plague. The Renaissance Cappella di Santa Fina is decorated with a fresco cycle by Domenico Ghirlandaio illustrating the life of Saint Fina. A small girl who suffered from a terminal disease, Fina repented for her sins—among them having accepted an orange from a boy—and in penance lived out the rest of her short life on a wooden board, tormented by rats. The scenes depict the arrival of Saint Gregory, who appeared to assure her that death was near; the flowers that miraculously grew from the wooden plank; and the miracles that accompanied her funeral, including the healing of her nurse's paralyzed hand and the restoration of a blind choirboy's vision.

    Contact Information

  • Address: Piazza Pecori 1–2, San Gimignano, 53037 | Map It
  • Phone: 0577/940316
  • Cost: €3.50; €5.50 including the Museo d'Arte Sacra
  • Hours: Apr.–Oct., weekdays 10–7:10, Sat. 10–5:10, Sun. 12:30–7:10; Nov. 1–15, Dec. 1–Jan. 15, and Feb. 1–Mar., Mon.–Sat. 10–4:40, Sun. 12:30–4:40. Closed Nov. 16–30 and Jan. 16–31.
  • Location: San Gimignano
Updated: 12-04-2013

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