San Gemini, original pre-roman town called Casventum in Roman times, took on the present name in the 9th century, when a monk called Gemine from Syria began to preach there, instructing and doing so much good that the town became known as the city of “St. Gemine”.
Enjoying the favour of the Papal State, it became a township, and representing a road junction of vital importance for comunication with Rome to the north, the town became a primary center of culture, art and religion. The abbeys of St. Nicholas and St. Gemine, now a cathedral, the churches of St. John with its antique baptistery of the 8th century and of St. Francis (13th century), as well as the Palace of the Citizen’s Captain and the mighty city walls, which largely still exist, testify to this fact. The Square of St. Francis, which is the town’s largest square, is dominated by the turreted mole of Canova Palace, testimony of the great sculptor’s long stay at San Gemini.