San Miniato has an history of etruscan and later roman colonies, as evidenced by excavation of a 3rd century b.C. necropolis and those of a roman villa.
The original core of the city dates back to the 8th century, when, according to the original document from 713, seventeen longobards built a church there dedicated to the martyr Miniato.
In detail: 1977 some remains of a bronze-age village were found in an area called Paesante, later near Rio Ensi (Poggio alle conce), in Cigoli (Poggio del Lapone) but also in other parts of the Egola Valley several finds were discovered.
The experts made importants discoveries as regards the fauna too. For example the fossil crab in Balconevisi and the whale founded near Calenzano. All these finds are kept in the Archaeological Museum in Florence.
The remains discovered and studied also in recent years show that this territory was wealthy in the Etruscan and Roman ages as well.
The Etruscans settled between river Era and river Elsa.
During ‘700 two epigraphic monuments were uncovered in the church in Coniano. 1934 the archeologists found a hellenistic necropolis in Fontevivo. Part of these remains can be admired at the Archaeological Museum in Florence and in smaller part in our archaeological collection. The excavation of this necropolis made the archaeologists think that near that area there was a big Etruscan settlement. Some years later some tombstones were found in Montalbano, Bucciano, while other finds have been discovered in Gargozzi, La Serra. All these remains show that this area was populated at least one century before the arrival of the Romans. A lot of Etruscan finds were discovered also along the river Arno valley.
Thanks to the archaeologic excavations in San Genesio and to the discovery of the gravestones and of an Etruscan house, we can now make a new study related to the Etruscan settlement in San Miniato.
The finds confirmed without any doubt that the Etruscan population who settled here was a highly civilized society and the beautiful and particular ceramic-ware show their intense trade.
During the 2nd and the 1st century b.C. San Miniato was under the Romans rule.
In this period the road system changed. People left the Etruscan road network in favour of the one on the flat. The Via Pisana (part of one Etruscan arterial road) was opened as a roman road. The route followed the river Arno as far as Pisa and joined the Via Aurelia. That was the modern-day street Tosco-Romagnola, instead the Via Clodia (an Etruscan road) followed the river Elsa. Along these roads rised several villages, people traded and met each other.
In San Miniato the Romans settled in the part of the city that today is known as Piazza XX Settembre (the ancient district Poggighisi, later called Piazza Santa Caterina), where there was a military camp and the square that today is called Buonaparte, where people celebrated the pagan rites.
Probably that square was also a place for Romans for meeting with the native Etruscans who settled in the northen part of the hill. A block of marble with a pagan epitaph was uncovered In the ancient church of San Jacopo e Filippo di Pancole (that was in the square that today is called Piazzetta Pancole).
In fact, according to some experts, the toponym Pancole should come from Pan, the God of abundance and prosperity.