A new museum dedicated to the medieval history of the Italian city of San Gimignano, in the heart of the Chianti wine-producing region of Tuscany, has opened in the famous old city.
Named SANGIMIGNANO 1300, the new museum features a hand-crafted reconstruction of the entire city of San Gimignano as it existed in 1300, as well as various exhibits, depictions and presentations about the city and those who lived inside and outside of its walls in medieval Tuscany.
The MUSEA Group, which operates the museum, says SANGIMIGNANO 1300 provides visitors the opportunity to experience and understand the historic, architectural and social aspects of San Gimignano, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
SANGIMIGNANO 1300 features a massive ceramic reconstruction of the entire city of San Gimignano as it existed in 1300, at the height of its artistic splendour. Architects, historians and a team of artists worked nearly three years to create the exhibition.
The exhibit, “The City Of Beautiful Towers,” includes 800 handcrafted structures, 72 towers, street scenes and figurines, all faithfully re-created and crafted entirely by hand using natural pigments and terracotta. More than a ton of clay from the local quarry of Montelupo was used for the exhibit.
SANGIMIGNANO 1300 is the culmination of the vision of two artists, Michelangelo and Raffaello Rubino. The Brothers Rubino have spent their lives developing their skill in their medium of choice, ceramic. In all, the reconstruction of Can Gimignano encompasses 4,000 square feet.
In addition to “The City Of Beautiful Towers,” the museum features nine other exhibits that depict the city during its artistic prime, including the reconstruction of the Convent of San Francesco, which was completely demolished in the 16th century; and “Inside The Tower,” a reconstruction of an architecturally sectioned tower-house. Another reconstructed exhibit is “Palace life,” a three-dimensional reconstruction of a XIV Fresco by Memmo Filippuccio, done entirely in ceramic.
Other exhibits on display include “Outside The Walls,” handcrafted scenes depicting medieval life outside the city walls. Visitors to SANGIMIGNANO 1300 can also see “Timeline,” hand-drawn panels that detail the history of San Gimignano from the Etruscan age to the present day, with an in-depth focus on the medieval period.
A visual projection area allows visitors to view documentaries concerning the life and customs of medieval Tuscany. Visitors can also witness “A Day In The City,” featuring staged and historically accurate scenes of medieval life.
Visitors can learn further information still from the exhibit “Via Francigena,” which provides a detailed graphic presentation of the Via Francigena and its spiritual and economic importance. Multimedia areas can also be found throughout the museum. These areas provide information on varying topics, including details on each developmental phase of the museum and in-depth historical and scientific aspects of medieval Tuscany.
SANGIMIGNANO 1300 features state-of-the-art lighting and sound to bring to life the more than 200 handcrafted figurines, multiple street scenes, videos, symbolism and a 2,500-year graphic depiction of the city and region.
The museum’s gift shop, which is claimed to be one of the largest in San Gimignano, carries a vast selection of works of art, DVDs, books and other gifts and collectibles representative of Tuscan craftsmanship. Many objects are one-of-a-kind creations created exclusively by the museum or gathered from local artisans, according to the MUSEA Group.
For more information about SANGIMIGNANO 1300 or to discuss private tours, group discounts and artist “meet-and-greets,” contact director Pietro Bortolotti at +1 561-740-8735 (USA) or +39-0577-941078 (Italy). More information about the museum can be found online at www.sangimignano1300.com/eng/index_eng.html.