Palazzo Comunale & Torre Grossa

Palazzo Comunale & Torre Grossa information

San Gimignano , Italy
Piazza del Duomo 2
+390 577 28 63 00
adult/reduced €6/5
Opening hours
9.30am-7pm summer, 11am-5.30pm winter
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The 12th-century Palazzo Comunale is home to the Camera del Podestà , with its meticulously restored and slightly saucy cycle of frescoes by Memmo di Filippuccio – in this morality tale the rewards of marriage are shown in the scenes of the husband and wife naked in the bath and in bed. Be sure to climb the 218 steps of the palazzo 's 54m Torre Grossa for a spectacular view over the town and surrounding countryside.

The palazzo 's Sala di Dante is where the great poet addressed the town's council in 1299, urging it to support the Guelph cause. The room (also known as the Sala del Consiglio) is home to Lippo Memmi's early 14th-century Maestà, which portrays the enthroned Virgin and Child surrounded by angels, saints and local dignitaries – the kneeling noble in red-and-black stripes was the podestà (chief magistrate) of the time. Other frescoes portray jousts, hunting scenes and castles. Gadget fans are likely to enjoy the augmented reality glasses which superimpose digital medieval characters over the frescoes; hire them from the gift shop.

Upstairs is a small but charming pinacoteca. Highlights are two large Annunciation panels (1482) by Filippino Lippi, Madonna of Humility Worshipped by Two Saints (1466) and Madonna and Child with Saints (1466) by Benozzo Gozzoli, and an altarpiece by Taddeo di Bartolo (1401) illustrating the life of St Gimignano.