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San Miniato is in the northeast corner of the province of Pisa.


San Miniato is a cramped, picturesque ancient city strung along a high ridge. There are stunning views over the Tuscan countryside. It is the site of a famous truffle festival each autumn. In the valley below, the new town of San Miniato Basso provides modern shopping, housing, and transportation connections.

Although officially in the province of Pisa, it is an easy day trip from Florence.

Etruscan and Roman remains in the area date back to the 3rd century B.C.E. The present settlement dates back to a church built in 713 to the martyr Miniato. In the middle ages its rulers were Germanic. It was known as "San Miniato al Tedesco". Fredrick II, Duke of Saxony, built a castle in 1218 and made San Miniato a tax collection centre. As Saxon power declined, the city was free for a while. It fell under Florentine rule as the 1400s approached. It was on a pilgrimage route from France to Rome, trod by peasants and nobility alike. In the 17th to 19th centuries, universities were founded in San Miniato. World War II combat destroyed the tower of Frederic II and several other old buildings by 1945, but the present tower was rebuilt in 1957.

The town and its hinterland are noted for truffles, for leather production, for education, and for theatre. Its legacy includes many museums.

  • 1 Uffico Turismo (Tourist Information Office), Piazza del Popolo, 1 (on the southwest corner of the plaza, opposite the church), +39 057142745, fax: +39 05714274.

Get in[edit]

The rail station San Miniato - Fucecchio station is on the FlorencePisa line. Trains from Santa Maria Novella station in Florence arrive in about 45 minutes. The bus #320 departs from in front of the station, and arrives at the "S.Miniato Riposo Rotatoria" turnaround bus stop in about 15 minutes. Buy bus tickets (€1.50) from the tobacconist across Viale Gugliemo Marconi, just below the station.

By car, take exit "Firenze Scandicci" from the A1, or exit "Pisa Centro" from the A12. Then take the expressway "SGC Fi-Pi-Li", exit "San Miniato".

By air, fly into the Florence or Pisa airports.

During the Truffle Festival in November, there may be special bus service laid on, and parking shuttles from outlying free car parks.

Get around[edit]

Quaint San Miniato, atop the hill, is compact and pedestrian-oriented, though with uneven pavement and lots of steps up and down. A car is a hindrance. Buses and taxis may exist but are not necessary for an able-bodied tourist.

San Miniato Basso sprawls across the plains. A car is helpful, and bus services exist. Walking is inconvenient.


Just about every window has a breathtaking view of the Tuscan countryside. This includes several restaurants, which is an extra treat as you eat lunch.

  • 1 Torre di Federico II (Tower of Frederic II). Frederick II built a tower here in the 13th century. Situated on a high hill, it commands the surrounding countryside, and protected the tax revenues. Destroyed in World War II, the present tower is a reproduction from 1957.
  • 2 Museo Archeologico (Archeological Museum), Via Ser Rodolfo (Just west of the arcade).
  • 3 Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra (Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art), Piazza del Duomo, 2.
  • 4 Via Angelica, Piazza del Popolo, 32. A narrow alley leads to a beautiful vista.

Truffle Festival[edit]

The countryside around San Miniato is a prime producer of white truffles, the tuber magnatum pico fungus, highly prized in cuisine, and highly priced as a result. Each year in the last three weeks of November, the local business association sponsors a truffle festival in San Miniato. Hordes of visitors fill the town, and there are food stands, special restaurant menus, markets, and parades everywhere.







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