Admire the palaces and towers that frame this beautiful square, which was once a medieval marketplace. Today, it’s a venue for cultural events.
At the heart of San Gimignano’s historic old town is the handsome Piazza della Cisterna. This lively public square has been a popular gathering place since it was laid out in 1200s. Once peppered with taverns and workshops, today it presents a striking collection of mostly 13th-century gateways, towers and palaces. Piazza della Cisterna also hosts annual fairs and festivals.
Enter the square through Arco dei Becci, situated at its southwest corner. This is one of the ancient gateways of the town’s defensive wall. Flanking the gate are two huge towers, Torre dei Becci and Torre dei Cugnanesi. Go to the central well, from which the square takes its name. Engraved in the well’s wall is the coat of arms of Guccio dei Malavolti, who was a chief magistrate during Italy’s medieval era.
The steps of the well are a great place to sit and view the surrounding landmarks. Among these is the Palazzo Razzi, characterized by its mullion windows. The adjacent Casa Salvestrini is a former hospital that was converted into a hotel. Dine at the hotel’s café patio or upper floor restaurant, which affords views across Tuscany’s majestic countryside.
Look to the north side of the square and spot Devil’s Tower. Legend states that, after a trip, the tower’s proprietor noticed that its height had increased. He accredited the occurrence to a diabolical intervention and the tower subsequently took on its name.
The square, along with Piazza Duomo, is a venue for various fairs which are held as part of festivals in honor of saints, including St. Fina, the city’s patron saint.
Piazza della Cisterna forms part of the core of San Gimignano’s old town and is a short walk from other major attractions. Stroll along Vicolo dell’Oro, a picturesque alley that was once home to the town’s goldsmiths. Walk to nearby Piazza Duomo, the town’s political center during the Middle Ages. Browse displays of frescoes at the Collegiate Church of San Gimignano and San Gimignano Communal Palace.