The name of the city: throughout the centuries San Gemignano has changed it's name a number of times: from Velathri, to Silva, to finally San Gemignano: named after the patron saint of the city.
The fame of San Gemignano: the city became world famous towards the end of the 9th.Century and became an
obvious resting place for pilgrims travelling along the pilgrims way. The Via
Francigena, along which commercial trade developed.
Between 1000 and 1200, San Gemignano became a Rigoglioso town and the first fortified walls were built, of which today we can still admire three of its four arches: Arco della Cancelleria, Arco de' Becci e Di Goro.
Then followed the building of numerous towers: 72 in all, a symbol of economic and political prosperity.
In 1255 the second fortified walls were built that include the three new castles of San Giovanni, San Matheo and Quercechio.
Between the 13th and 14th centuries the town became so extravagant in it's luxuries that the town hall had to impose limits.
With the passing of time the luxuries gave way to need , well being gave way to the terrible plague, political stability gave way to fractious fighting between the families of Salvucci (Ghibellini) and Ardinghelli (Guelfi). From then on the city fell into the hands of the Florentine city state which in 1353 constructed the Rocca di Montestaffoli, situated on the highest point of the town. Finally from 1500 onwards the splendid towered city fell into the economic and political decline that characterized many other towns in the course of the century and it's inhabitants survived above all from agriculture.