Italian adventure. San Gimignano
On our way from Florence to Siena we wanted to stop for a few hours to see some medieval towns in Tuscany. We‘d planned to see San Gimignano and Volterra, but since we left a little late from Florence we chose San Gimignano because it is bigger. We had read about these towns situated on top of hills and we had to include at least one of them on our road trip adventure. But of course we got a little lost when we missed the highway exit and ended up on Tuscany’s vineyards between the hills (we wanted to drive on those roads since we saw Letters to Juliet) and then we arrived at a castle/winery that turned out to be a private property and shattered out dreams of visiting it and taste the famous Tuscany wines…
Let us tell you a some little facts about the history of the town…its complete name is San Gimignano delle Belle Torri (San Gimignano the Town of Beautiful Towers), being considered the most beautiful medieval town in Tuscany, also named „The 100 Towers Town” (in reality there were about 70 such towers) and first documented in the Vth century. The town’s center was included in the UNESCO World Heritage because of its 14 towers that are still in an excellent condition. It’s situated at about 50 km from Florence and 30 km from Siena but not on the mani road on the highway, you’ll have to pay attention to street signs.
The town is not big, you can easily walk around it in about 30 minutes. It’s situated on top of a hill and you can see from far away the defense walls that surround it. If you go by car, there are 4 parkings, each one of them with different entrances to the town and you’ll have to climb a little to get to it.
You’ll find here museums, the Torture Museum among them, the Dome, smaller churches, squares, shops traditional products and you can climb on some of the towers for a spectacular view. What impressed us the most was the gelateria that was named world champion for a few years in a row, Gelateria Dondoli, where we’ve tried once again the pistachio one.
San Gimignano is a touristic town, with tourists everywhere on the tiny cobblestone streets, the locals being outnumbered. We stayed and enjoyed our ice cream in Piazza del Duomo with the older locals who came prepared with chairs brought from their homes. They were out for a little chat as they watched amused the people trying to take the perfect vacation pictures. If you’re in Tuscany for Florence or Siena try to go to San Gimignano or other medieval town nearby also. It won’t take long of your time and you won’t regret it.