The first Palazzo del Podesta was built on the east side of the Duomo Square in 1239, later called the vecchia. In 1288 a Nuovo Podesta was built on the south side of the square. This carries other names such as Popolo or Communale. The older palace eventually became a prison and then a theater. Immediately to the left of the old Podesta is another palace named for the Chigi of 1280, and next to it another Torre of the same name. Note that the old Podesta has a tower too, now called the Rognosa, which is a little shorter at 165 ft than the Torre Grossa at 175 ft.
The political and religious heart of San Gimignano, Piazza del Duomo contains the town's most important buildings. This includes il Duomo, the old and new government buildings (Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Vecchio del Podestà), and the Loggia del Comune. The piazza is also surrounded by seven of San Gimignano's towers.
Piazza del Duomo is the home of the Collegiata from the 11th century and it was built in the nowday shape in the 13th century when was built the main buildings on the sides of the square. In this square you can see many towers: Torre Rognosa, Torre Chigi and the twin towers dei Salvucci.
Piazza del Duomo is a square of exceptional beauty and full of valuable historic buildings. The monumental Palazzo della Podesta with Torre Rognosa stands stands right opposite to the cathedral, ex-oratorio di San Giovanni with "The Annunciation", the Renaissance masterpiece painted by Domenico Ghirlandaio, the remains of the ancient work from the Atelier of Lippo and Federico Memmi, and the Twin Towers closing the right side of the square.
Along with Piazza della Cisterna, Piazza del Duomo is the centerpiece of San Gimignano, although the later is more important due to the fact that the main buildings of the village are situated there – the Cathedral (Duomo) and the Palazzo del Popolo (Town Hall).
This is a bustling square, full of visitors. You will probably have to queue and wait to visit any monument here, mainly the above mentioned which also house Museums. Apart from these, there are also some cafes and tourist shops.
Across the church, there is another Palace worth mentioning – the Palazzo del Podestá with its Tower.
We were all sitting on the floor and listening to the guide who was explaining us the facts about this beautiful town.
Among the historic buildings located here is also Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta (1239), whose tower is probably the oldest.
Piazza del Duomo is next to Piazza della Cisterna. Here you will find the Collegiata, old palazzi, 7 towers and the tourist office.