The Patron Festival at San Gimignano
Someone might wonder why the austere "Town of Towers", is called San Gimignano. The only saint with this name was the bishop of Modena in the fourth century which, as far as it is known, had never visited the territory around Siena.
The most striking gesture that is given (and perhaps earned him the name on the calendar) is to have launched a bank of fog against the hordes of Huns marching towards the Apennines, so thick to prevent him from continuing the path towards Central Italy.
The only trace of connection with the Sienese territory is linked to a legendary story about a boy of Colle Val d'Elsa, who for some reason happened to be in Modena in 397 and that took his way to attend the funeral ceremony in honour of the bishop Gimignano that had just died.
While the procession passed in front, he was irresistibly attracted by a large ring that shone in the finger of the deceased. Taking advantage of a moment of confusion or perhaps pretending to kiss the corpse, the boy attempted to seize the ring. The operation was badly managed and the finger of his eminence remained in the hands of the boy. Terrified, he stared to run until he finally found shelter inside a small chapel not far from of his house.
Then came the catharsis: the young man was sorry for what he did, confessed the theft and delivered everything to the local priest.
Since that day the church was given the name of the bishop of Modena and around it was developed the formidable town that you can still admire in his nearly intact medieval architecture.
Those who visit San Gimignano on the day of the feast of its patron, will attend the traditional offering of candles and solemn blessing from above the staircase that introduces the Collegiate Church.
Some people think that the body should be pleased as well as the soul: plenty of temptations are available along the many little streets of the San Gimignano town centre: delicacies, souvenirs and local handcrafts.
Where: San Gimignano | Inside and outside the Collegiate church
When: 31 January (fixed date)