San Gimignano rises with its towers on a hill (mt 334) and overlooks the Val d’Elsa. Location of a small Etruscan village dating back to the Hellenistic Period (III-II century BC), it began its history around the tenth century, named after the Holy Bishop of Modena: San Gimignano, that saved the village from the barbarian hordes. It had great development during the Middle Ages thanks to the Francigena Path. Thus, San Gimignano had an extraordinary flowering of art works that adorned churches and convents. In 1199 it became a free municipality, fought against the Bishops of Volterra and the surrounding municipalities, suffered internal struggles and was divided into two factions: the Ardinghelli (Guelphs) and the Salvucci (Ghibellines). On 8th May 1300 it hosted Dante Alighieri, ambassador of the Guelph league in Tuscany. The terrible plague of 1348 and the depopulation drew San Gimignano into a serious crisis. The town had to submit to Florence. Neglect and misery were overcome only when the beauties of the town were discovered again, with its cultural importance and the original agricultural identity.