San Gimignano 1300: Medieval Tuscany in Miniature
Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 14, 2013
One of the joys of travel is serendipitous experiences, like San Gimignano 1300. Our visit to San Gimignano was unplanned. I had heard that it was worth a visit, so we hopped on a bus from Poggibonsi. Baruch discovered this museum while wandering down some alleys. He disappeared for a while, then came back at a run and said, “You have to see this!” We were the only ones in the museum, so the woman showed us around and let me take all the photos I wanted. It is off the regular tourist path.
San Gimignano 1300 is a project to recreate San Gimignano as it was in its glory, with over 70 towers along the skyline, using models and dioramas. The artists, Michelangelo and Raphael Rubino (brothers from an artistic family, began the project in 2006. The recreation was painstakingly researched. A team of artists took nearly three years to complete the project. The project is currently closed for renovations (from November 2012 to “spring” in 2013, whenever that may be; the site didn’t give a date).
The entrance hall contains dioramas and ceramic models of life in 1300:
The detail of the models is breath-taking. I was lucky to be able to get these shots through the glass.
Have you ever wondered how people could live in those towers? Well, these reconstructions show how it was done. The rooms were probably quite dark and you would have done a lot of climbing by ladder to get from one floor to another.
The jewel of the museum is this model of San Gimignano as it was in 1300, with a sound and light show:
The lights dim to represent night:
If you happen to be passing through the town, this museum is worth a visit, especially if you have children (they have some kind of treasure hunt). Just make sure that it’s not closed for renovations.