San Gimignano Museums
(San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy)
Elements of history and culture in San Gimignano is well documented in a number of museums. The Museo Archeologico (Archaeological Museum) is especially interesting and contains a collection of historic treasures, while the Museo del Vino (Wine Museum) offers something a little different and the chance to sample some crisp, Tuscan wine.
Something for those interested in San Gimignano's more gruesome past, the Museum of Torture and Medieval Crime offers an insight into a rather macabre element. Particularly memorable is the torture chair featuring more than 1,000 spikes, which when used for torturing purposes, were not only razor sharp, but heated up by red hot coals.
Museo Archeologico / Spezieria di Santa Fina (Archaeological Museum)
Address: Via Folgore da San Gimignano 11, San Gimignano, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 0577 940 348
The Museo Archeologico is a relatively new attraction in San Gimignano and home an array of artefacts from the town's past. Also of interest, the Archaeological Museum is home to the Spezieria di Santa Fina, which includes a reconstruction of a pharmacy from the 16th century, filled with fragrant herbs and spices. A well-planted herb garden and additional modern art gallery complete the main attractions.
Open hours: mid-March to mid-December, daily - 11:00 to 17:30
Admission: charge, discounts for children
Museo della Tortura e di Criminologia Medievale (Museum of Torture and Medieval Crime)
Address: Porta San Giovanni 123, Piazza Cisterna, San Gimignano, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 0577 940 526
Known locally as the Museo della Tortura e di Criminologia Medievale and housed within a dungeon setting, the Torture Museum is a real eye opener and features many actual medieval instruments of torture, along with a number of authentic reproductions. The grisly and gory exhibits number more than 100 and are all well signposted in a variety of different languages, including thumbscrews, chastity belts and lots of distasteful masks.
Open hours: daily, mid-July to mid-September - 09:00 to midnight; mid-September to mid-July - 09:00 to 19:00
Admission: charge, concessions available
Museo del Vino (Wine Museum)
Address: Rocca di Montestaffoli, San Gimignano, Italy, IT
Tel: +39 0577 940 348
Sited inside of the town's historic fortress, visitors to the Museo del Vino will be led around the exhibits by a knowledgeable wine steward (sommelier). For a small charge, you will be able to take part in a wine tasting of some of Tuscany's best known white wines. Those with even just the smallest interest in wine will find this attraction a must-see and it is likely to be a particular highlight of any visit.
Open hours: March to October, Thursday to Monday - 11:00 to 19:00, Wednesday - 15:00 to 19:00