The Manhattan of Toscana


imageManhattan in Tuscany?  Yep, that’s San Gimignano, known for its amazing skyline and Tuscan charm. Of its original 72 towers, built as symbols of power and wealth, 14 remain.  The town was an important stop for pilgrims on the Via Francingena, the route from England to Rome.  In fact, we learned today that the entrance to the cathedral was moved to better accommodate the route of pilgrims.

we didn’t expect to be going here today.  Over the years we’ve been asked by many, “What??  You’ve never been to San Gimignano?”  Although it held some interest for me, mainly for the vernaccia wine, we had tended to avoid it because it felt “touristy.”

i stand corrected and humbled.  After a brief discussion with our waiter Mauriano this morning, we decided to get out of town (which we learned had attracted 60,000 visitors during the weekend due to the Santa village) and just go somewhere with no strollers and over -tired kids.

so off we went on yet another beautiful, clear, sunny day.

admittedly, the view of the town upon approach is stunning and unlike other Tuscan hill towns.  The towers today rose into the clear blue sky, and if I were a good photographer, this would have been a good day for many views.

First stop was the duomo.  We spent a good hour listening to our audio guides with a perfect description of the frescoes which remain virtually intact .  There was no photography allowed, but here’s a picture of a picture on the brochure:imageOne side of the duomo depicted stories of the Old Testament, the other side the stories of the New Testament.  I was interested in the chapel of Saint Fina, with a glass coffin containing her remains.  The stories of these young, virginal saints leave me with many questions. .  .

Once again we enjoyed lunch outside and we estimated the temperatures to be in the high 60's to low 70's in the sun!  Amazing!

Once again we enjoyed lunch outside and we estimated the temperatures to be in the high 60’s to low 70’s in the sun! Amazing!

Awww. . .a sweet heart for two sweethearts!

Awww. . .a sweet heart for two sweethearts!

We were content to browse, eat gelato, and browse some more.  Here are a few photos to enjoy the ambience of the day. . .

La cisterna in the piazza

La cisterna in the piazza




Santa and reindeer giving out candy to kids.

Santa and reindeer giving out candy to kids.


We found the shopping in San Gimignano quite good, and staggered back to the car with wine, cheese, and assorted goodies.  I liked the town for a number of reasons, including its gentle hills, not too steep, with easy walking.  I would most certainly return, although there are so many wonderful hill towns yet to discover. I would like to explore the towers and walk more of the streets.  The vernaccia was tasty, the pecorino is coming home with me “sottovuoto”and I finally found my “papavero e fico” products at a handsome discount.

Its been another good day.

3 responses »

  1. San Gimignano is where I saw my first live opera and a passionate interest was born. Imagine the main piazza with its illuminated towers as the backdrop on a summer night. The lights, the swallows zipping around, the elegant ladies in the audience with their chic shawls and black dresses . . . And the music! It was an experience I will never forget.

  2. So glad you’re both enjoying yourselves in Tuscany. Your weather sounds just fabulous! We’re fighting with a nor’easter at the moment, which is rain and not snow this time….lots of heavy winds. The weather has been yucky here! So live it up! Ciao☺️

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