San Miniato was an Etruscan and then Roman land site. Archaeological digs are testimony to a 3rd century BC necroplis located in present day Fontevivo and a Roman villa in present day Antonini. Written reports can be found in the Archaeological Museum of Florence and the Civic Museum. The original city center came to be in the VIII century when 17 Longobardi's, according to the original documents from 713 BC conserved in the Arcivescovile Archives of Lucca, built a church dedicated to Miniato the Martyr.
A story like this couldn't have not left such a relevant artisitic and architectural heritage. Starting from the central Piazza del Popolo one will find the 14th century church of San Domenico, home to the Sant'Anselmo frescoes. One of the most noted frescoes here is that of Longhi and Berenson given to Masolino of Panicale, a funerary monument by Donatello.
To the left of the facade, there is an mysterious road called Via Angelica which is a underground passage way from the old city walls to the countryside. On the right you'll see the convent with its cloisters that were confiscated and then re-opened by the napoleanic administration where its main Historical Archive is one of the richest in Tuscany with over 100,000 documents from the 1200's.
Continuing on one will find many examples of renasisance architecture, one of which is the Palazzo Formichini, headquarters for the Cassa di Risparmio collection (with works by artists such as Guercino, Lorenzo di Bicci, Jacopo del Sellaio, Cigoli and Givanbattista Naldini), and especially Palazzo Grifoni built in 1555 by Giuliano di Baccio d'Agnolo. Down in the valley past the octogonal church of the Santissima Annunziata, where the relics of Santa Dorotea have been conserved, you will find the Santa Chiara monastery, another center of the museum system. Here there are artworks from such artists as Cigoli, Deodato Orlandi, Jacopo Chimenti and school works from the 15th century.
In the opposite direction leaving from San Domenico and going upwards towards the old castle center, past the Roffia Palazzo (this also being of Giuliano di Baccio d'Agnolo), is the Porta Toppariorum. This door gave access to the antique defense center. Inside of the door, the Casatorre degli Stipendiari, Federiciana art, was home to the military contingency. Past this one can see the scenographic Piazza del Seminario, enclosed by the other impending medieval door.
From the plaza, by use of a triple entrance system, you can reach the Piazza del Duomo.
The rest of the tower and Imperial Palazzo are found here, dating back to the 11th century, which was home to a good four German emperors: Ottone I di Sassonia in 1962, Federico Barbarossa in 1167 and 1178, Ottone IV in 1209 and Federico II of Svevia in 1218, 1224 and 1240. Just opposite the Palazzo Vescovile (Bishop's plaza) the Duomo was erected in the 14th century on top of 3 preexisting buildings. In front of the Duomo there is an antique pieve of Santa Maria from 1100.
Next to the Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art there is a Verrocchian redeemer and a crucifixion done by Filippino Lippi. Behind this, you'll find the tower of Matilde erected in 1100 and then made part of the duomo as the bell tower.