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How to Book a Hotel in San Gimignano
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Hotels of San Gimignano
A hotel in San Gimignano is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in San Gimignano hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in San Gimignano are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some San Gimignano hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most San Gimignano hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in San Gimignano have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in San Gimignano
An upscale full service hotel facility in San Gimignano that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury San Gimignano hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in San Gimignano
Full service San Gimignano hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in San Gimignano
Boutique hotels of San Gimignano are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. San Gimignano boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in San Gimignano may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in San Gimignano
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of San Gimignano travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most San Gimignano focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in San Gimignano
Small to medium-sized San Gimignano hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded San Gimignano traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service San Gimignano hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in San Gimignano
A bed and breakfast in San Gimignano is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, San Gimignano bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical San Gimignano B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in San Gimignano
San Gimignano hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many San Gimignano hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in San Gimignano
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized San Gimignano hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in San Gimignano lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in San Gimignano
San Gimignano timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in San Gimignano often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of San Gimignano on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in San Gimignano
A San Gimignano motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of San Gimignano for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of San Gimignano motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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San Gimignano (Italian pronunciation: [san dʒimiɲˈɲaːno]) is a small walled medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany, north-central Italy. Known as the Town of Fine Towers, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture, unique in the preservation of about a dozen of its tower houses, which, with its hilltop setting and encircling walls form "an unforgettable skyline". Within the walls, the well-preserved buildings include notable examples of both Romanesque and Gothic architecture, with outstanding examples of secular buildings as well as churches. The Palazzo Comunale, the Collegiate Church and Church of Sant' Agostino contain frescos, including cycles dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The "Historic Centre of San Gimignano", is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town also is known for the saffron, the Golden Ham and its white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, produced from the ancient variety of Vernaccia grape which is grown on the sandstone hillsides of the area.
San Gimignano: History
In the 3rd century BC a small Etruscan village stood on the site of San Gimignano. Chroniclers Lupi, Coppi and Pecori relate that during the Catiline conspiracy against the Roman Republic in the 1st century, two patrician brothers, Muzio and Silvio, fled Rome for Valdelsa and built two castles, Mucchio and Silvia (now San Gimignano). The name of Silvia was changed to San Gimignano in 450 AD after Bishop Geminianus, the Saint of Modena, intervened to spare the castle from destruction by the followers of Attila the Hun. As a result, a church was dedicated to the saint, and in the 6th and 7th centuries a walled village grew up around it, subsequently called the "Castle of San Gimignano" or Castle of the Forest because of the extensive woodland surrounding it. From 929 the town was ruled by the bishops of Volterra.
In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance era, it was a stopping point for Catholic pilgrims on their way to Rome and the Vatican, as it sits on the medieval Via Francigena. The city's development was also improved by the trade of agricultural products from the fertile neighbouring hills, in particular saffron, used in both cooking and dyeing cloth and Vernaccia wine, said to inspire popes and poets.
In 1199, the city made itself independent of the bishops of Volterra and established a podestà, and set about enriching the commune with churches and public buildings. However, the peace of the town was disturbed for the next two centuries by conflict between Guelphs and Ghibellines, and family rivalries. This resulted in families' building tower houses of increasing height. Towards the end of the Medieval period they were 72 in number and up to 70 metres (230 feet) tall. The rivalry was finally restrained when it was ordained by the council that no tower was to be taller than that adjacent to the Palazzo Comunale.
While the official patron is Saint Geminianus, the town also honours Saint Fina, known also as Seraphina and Serafina, who was born in San Gimignano 1238 and whose feast day is 12 March. The Chapel of Santa Fina in the Collegiate Church houses her shrine and frescos by Ghirlandaio. The house said to be her home still stands in the town.
On 8 May 1300, San Gimignano hosted Dante Alighieri in his role as ambassador of the Guelph League in Tuscany.
The city flourished until 1348, when it was struck by the Black Death that affected all of Europe, and about half the townsfolk died. The town submitted to the rule of Florence. Initially, some Gothic palazzi were built in the Florentine style, and many of the towers were reduced to the height of the houses. There was little subsequent development, and San Gimignano remained preserved in its medieval state until the 19th century, when its status as a touristic and artistic resort began to be recognised.
San Gimignano: Description
The city is on the ridge of a hill with its main axis being north/south. It is encircled by three walls and has at its highest point, to the west, the ruins of a fortress dismantled in the 16th century. There are eight entrances into the city, set into the second wall, which dates from the 12th and 13th centuries. The main gates are Porta San Giovanni on the ridge extending south, Porta San Matteo to the north west and Porta S. Jacopo to the north east. The main streets are Via San Matteo and Via San Giovanni, which cross the city from north to south. At the heart of the town are four squares: the Piazza Duomo, on which stands the Collegiate Church; the Piazza della Cisterna, the Piazza Pecori and the Piazza delle Erbe. To the north of the town is another significant square, Piazza Agostino, on which stands the Church of Sant' Agostino. The locations of the Collegiate Church and Sant' Agostino's and their piazzas effectively divide the town into two regions.
San Gimignano: Architecture
The town of San Gimignano has many fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic architecture. As well as churches and medieval fortifications, there are notable examples of Romanesque secular and domestic architecture which may be distinguished from each other by their round and pointed arches, respectively. A particular feature which is typical of the region of Siena is that the arches of openings are depressed, with doorways often having a second low arch set beneath a semi-circular or pointed arch. Both Romanesque and Gothic windows sometimes have a bifurcate form, with two openings divided by a stone mullion under a single arch.
San Gimignano: Piazzas
San Gimignano: Piazza della Cisterna
This Piazza, entered from Via San Giovanni, is the main square of the town. It is triangular in shape and is surrounded by medieval houses of different dates, among them some fine examples of Romanesque and Gothic palazzos. At the centre of the piazza stands a well which was the main source of water for the town's residents. The structure dates from 1346. Although much of it has been renewed in the late 20th century, parts of the paving date from the 13th century.
San Gimignano: Piazza Duomo
This piazza is to the north of Piazza della Cistern and is connected by a passage adjacent to an open loggia. To the west, at the top of the square, stands the Collegiate Church, reached by a broad flight of steps. The name of the square would seem to imply that this church was at one time a cathedral, but although it was perhaps planned, this was not the case. Other important buildings on the square include the Palazzo Comunale and the Palazzo Podesta, the house of the mayor. The Palazzo Podesta is distinguished by its huge arched loggia.
San Gimignano: Towers
Towers in San Gimignano
While in other cities, such as Florence, most or all of their towers have been brought down due to wars, catastrophes, or urban renewal, San Gimignano has managed to conserve fourteen towers of varying heights, for which it is known internationally.
Campanile della Collegiata
Torri degli Ardinghelli
Torre dei Becci
Torre Chigi, (1280)
Torre dei Cugnanesi
Torre del Diavolo
Torre Ficherelli or Ficarelli
Torre Grossa, (1311), 54 metres (177 ft)
Torre di Palazzo Pellari
Torre Rognosa, 51 metres (167 ft)
Torri dei Salvucci
San Gimignano: Churches
There are many churches in the town: the two main ones are the Collegiata, formerly a cathedral, and Sant'Agostino, housing many artworks from early Italian renaissance artists.
San Gimignano: Civic buildings
The Communal Palace, once seat of the podestà, is currently home of the town gallery, with works by Pinturicchio, Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi, Domenico di Michelino, Pier Francesco Fiorentino and others. From Dante's Hall in the palace, access may be made to a Maesta fresco by Lippo Memmi, as well as the Torre del Podestà or Torre Grossa, 1311, which stands 54 metres (177 ft) high.
San Gimignano: Culture
Piazza della Cisterna, San Gimignano
San Gimignano is the birthplace of the poet Folgore da San Gimignano (1270–1332).
A fictionalised version of San Gimignano is featured in E. M. Forster's 1905 novel, Where Angels Fear to Tread as Monteriano.
Tea with Mussolini, a 1999 drama about the plight of English and American expatriate women in Italy during World War II, was filmed in part in San Gimignano. The frescoes that the women save from being destroyed during the German Army's withdrawal are inside the Duomo, the town's main church.
Franco Zeffirelli used San Gimignano as a stand-in for the town of Assisi in his 1972 Saint Francis of Assisi biopic Brother Sun, Sister Moon. Most of the "Assisi" scenes were filmed here.
In the novel The Broker by John Grisham, Joel Backman takes his second of three wives on vacation in Italy to keep her from divorcing him. They rent a 14th-century monastery near San Gimignano for a month.
M. C. Escher's 1923 woodcut, San Gimignano, depicts the celebrated towers.
A 15th-century version of the town is featured in the 2009 video game Assassin's Creed II.
San Gimignano: International relations
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Italy
San Gimignano: Twin towns
San Gimignano is twinned with:
Český Krumlov, Czech Republic
Meersburg, Germany (since 2002)
San Gimignano: Gallery
Towers of San Gimignano, showing Romanesque house
Street in San Gimignano
Vines on ruins in San Gimignano
Street in San Gimignano
Church in San Gimignano
Panorama of San Gimignano
Bastione San Francesco, San Gimignano
Salvucci Towers, San Gimignano
Panorama of San Gimignano Towers
View from Torre Grossa tower
Piazza della Cisterna
Panorama of San Gimignano and surrounding landscape
East View from Torre Grossa, San Gimignano
San Gimignano: See also
Romanesque secular and domestic architecture
San Gimignano: References
San Gimignano: Bibliography
AA. VV., Medieval Churches of the Val d'Elsa. The territories of the Via Francigena between Siena and San Gimignano, Empoli, dell'Acero Publishers, 1996. Buy book ISBN 88-86975-08-2
Rosella Vantaggi, San Gimignano: Town of the Fine Towers, Plurigraf. 1979
The exact number is not a matter of agreement because many towers have been levelled to the same height as adjacent buildings. The number is given as "a dozen" (Strasser), 13 (Vantaggi) and 14 (UNESCO).
UNESCO: Historic Centre of San Gimignano, (accessed 05-09-2012)
Tuscany Wine, (accessed 11-09-2012)
Vernaccia di San Gimignano, (accessed 11-09-2012)
History of San Gimignano, (accessed 11-09-2012)
A. M.von der Hagen and R. Strasser, op. cit. pp. 430-433
Rosella Vantaggi, op. cit. pp. 41-50
Rosella Vantaggi, op. cit. pp. 5-6
Vantaggi, op. cit., pp. 82-83
"Грузинский курорт Местиа и итальянский Сан-Джиминьяно станут побратимами | Политика | Новости-Грузия". Newsgeorgia.ru. Retrieved 2011-11-07.
San Gimignano: External links
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