San Gimignano, the town of (13) beautiful towers, is a day trip from Florence, last week’s post. One of UNESCO’s World Cultural and Natural Heritage cities, this medieval town was saved from barbaric invasions by a saint – or so goes its legend. Today, San Gimignano is a city where 8,000 souls live and work in its medieval setting. Usually, most medieval towns die because all of their inhabitants leave for an easier lifestyle : cobbled stones are not good for high heels.
There are several motorways leading to San Gimignano if you have rented a car. If you did not rent a car, San Gimignano is accessible by train. The station is Poggibonsi/San Gimignano, and from the train station to San Gimignano there are buses from 8 AM to 8 PM.
IMHO, San Gimignano is more tourist friendly than Lucca or Volterra. There are more tour activities in museums and churches, more cultural events, and there are even wine tours because San Gimignano produces more than 9 million bottles a year.
And then there is the view… It has not changed for centuries. In my mind, all of Tuscany’s essence lies in this view : etruscan buildings and vineyards.
It is always nice to linger for a while and if I get lucky, I can get a picture snapped with tourists photo bombers.
San Gimignano’s town center might be the 13th century triangular Piazza de la Cisterna which leads to the Piazza del Duomo. Wikipedia states that this Piazza used to host tournaments, festivals and markets. Nowadays, I usually see many people eating ice-creams cones by the well because it is one of the only seating place in town.
The Palazzo Comunale aka Palazzo del Popolo is located on the aforementioned Piazzo del Duomo. It is the impressive 13th century building towering over 54 meters…Most interesting buildings are around the Piazzo del Duomo and are worth a visit if only for the 14th and 15th century Italian masterpieces adorning them. Though San Gimignano obviously went through hard times, some really rich times have left their traces. Towers are signs of power and families would try to outdo each other with taller monuments. At one point, San Gimignano had more than 72 towers.
Other than visiting the architectural wonders, San Gimignano hosts enough artisan shops, gardens and cafés to spend the entire day without getting bored. This citadel is just a beautiful place to rest and walk. See you next week in Siena.