Art and Culture in San Miniato Art and Culture in San Miniato

Historical outlines

AnforaSan Miniato is a land of Etruscan and Roman settlements as the excavation of a necropolis of the 3rd century B.C. and those of a Roman Villa have shown and these findings can be seen at the National Archaeological Museum in Florence, and in smaller parts in our archaeological collection. The original nucleus of the town dates back to the 8th century, when according to the original document of 713, seventeen Longobards built a Church dedicated to the martyr Miniato. Therefore the town has Germanic origins and since the Middle Ages it has been known as San Miniato al Tedesco (German San Miniato).
In the following five centuries San Miniato grew as a medieval defensive wall, since Otto I, Duke of Saxony in 962 made it become one of the centres of the imperial administration. Subsequently Frederick II, Duke of Swabia in 1218 built his castle in San Miniato and used it for tax collection purposes for central Italy. San Miniato, when the swabian power was in decline, became a free municipality.The town has large monasteries, schools, institution and a hospital. The municipal statues which are stored in the historical archive, testify its independency and luck. By the end of the 14th century San Miniato had to abide by the authority of the new Florentine Signoria. And again a German Lady the Grand Duchess Maria Maddalena of Austria, wife of Cosimo dei Medici, promoted San Miniato, making it become a "See" in 1622. Thanks to the development of the town in the following century, the diocese enriched it with the St Crocifisso Sanctuary and the Great Theological College. The cultural life was very active and created study and cultural academies, including Accademia degli Affidati, which later became Accademia degli Euteleti.
At the end of the nineteeth century, San Miniato was a well-established town. During the World War II the German army targeted and destroyed the Tower of Frederick II and some of the other middleaged suburbs. In 1957 the tower was rebuilt to symbolize the rebirth of the town.