Piazza Duomo, 8, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italia
The collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta, or the cathedral of San Gimignano, is the main religious building in the city. Standing in piazza del Duomo at the top of a broad flight of steps, it was probably built around 1056 and was certainly consecrated in 1148. Restructuring work followed in 1239, and the cathedral was expanded in 1460 by architect Giuliano da Maiano. It then remained largely unmodified until the damage it sustained in the Second World War was repaired.
The façade is done in travertine and is Romanesque in style. A central rose window looms over two portals, each of which is surmounted by a lunette, constructed in concentric semi-circles. The inside the church, which is built to the traditional plan of a basilica, is marked out by fourteen classical stone columns on the Tuscan order, of which ten are round and four octagonal. The walls of the church are completely covered by a cycle of magnificent frescos, which depict stories from the Old and New Testaments, painted by such illustrious artists of the fourteenth-century Sienese school as Lippo and Federico Memmi and Bartolo di Fredi. The interior also has many other colourful decorations typical of the medieval period, like the incredible blue cross vault and the intrados that divide the naves, which are decorated with a striped motif characteristic of Tuscan taste.