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Duomo of San Miniato
Places of worship

Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta e San Genesio

The cathedral in San Miniato was the victim of a bombing in 1944

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Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and San Genesio
Scala Duomo, 1

The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta e San Genesio, the cathedral of San Miniato, was built in the 12th century,possibly on the ruins of an older chapel. Originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was mentioned for the first time in 1195 in a note from Pope Celestine III. When the Lombardic town which stretched to the foot of San Miniato was destroyed in 1248, Santa Maria acquired the baptismal font and the title of San Genesio. When the building was renovated,the façade was decorated with ceramic basins– like those in the finest buildings in Pisa. In the 15th century the church was expanded and the large bell tower was built, known as the Torre di Matilde, because according to legend Matilde di Canossa was born in the adjacent Palazzo del Vicari.

The façade is prominentwith a brick masonry wall, inside which there are 26 decorated ceramic basins, outstanding for their elegance and originality. In the lower part, there are three 16th-century sandstone portals.

Interior of the cathedral
Interior of the cathedral

The interior has a neo-renaissance architectural appearancewith Baroque-style decorations, the result of Pietro Bernardini’s 19th-century work. The three naves are separated by two series of arches resting on polychrome ionic columns made of fake marble and covered by a carved and gilded ceiling, from the 17th century. 

On the 22 July 1944, an artillery bullet from the United States military went through the churchvia the rose window on the southern side of the transept, and exploded in the right aisle, killing 55 people. The cathedral was full of citizens who had been gathered in the churchyard by the Germans.

This incident inspired one of the Taviani brothers’ most famous films The Night of San Lorenzo.

San Miniato
Famous for its prized white truffles, this town is packed with churches worth visiting
San Miniato is a charming town perched on a hill, just a short distance from the Arno. Halfway between Florence and Pisa, it was (not surprisingly) contested territory for the two cities through the centuries. Famous for its exquisite white truffles, which are native to the area, San Miniato’s origins go back to the Etruscan-Roman age. ...