Tuesday, October 12, 2010

San Gimignano - Manhattan in Tuscano

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 and the sun was rising over the hills in Monticchiello. It was another day of discovery. We'd read about San Gimignano in our DK Eyewitness Travel book before we left Australia.
It's one of those must see hilltop villages in Tuscany. Why do I call it the Manhattan of Tuscano?
It's because it has 13 towers rising from the village dominating the skyline.

San Gimignano - Go on, knock on this door. I dare you!

San Gimignano was on the Pilgrim route to Rome.
During the mid-1300s it went into decline when hit by the black plague.
Today it is on the itinerary of most tourists through Tuscany.
 Built in the middle ages, 12th and 13th centuries, the towers are truly majestic. Even before we arrived at the village walls, several of the towers could be seen from afar. We arrived to the eastern side of the village and naturally the car needed to be parked outside the walls. Fortunately, as I've mentioned several times before, we had very few tourists about. Is October a non-tourist time?

Now tell me, is this a medieval Manhattan?

Piazza Della Cisterna and the fountain in the centre - there's a nice Gelato shop nearby.

A lovely drawing of Piazza Della Cisterna
from a different angle from where I took my photograph.
Not my drawing and no ownership known.

After a somewhat drive of misadventure (we got lost a few times) we entered the city walls and decided that an espresso was required before discovering San Gimignano. Just as a side story, I had difficulty in pronouncing the village's name, so I renamed it, "San Jiminy Cricket." I have since improved but found when quoting Italian, I need to wave my hands around alot.

Again I digress (I do that a lot - sorry), anyway we had a lovely coffee in the sunshine at the first cafe just inside the first gates. As pleasant as this was, the sad part was that Sue, feeling rather warm and taking in some vitamin D, decided to hang her woolen cardy over the chair and that was where it stayed after we moved on.
On these steps we ate pizza in the sun and took in the local atmosphere of San Jiminy Cricket.
We must have come from the high side of the village as the narrow main thoroughfare took us towards the Piazza Del Duomo. There rising above us was the oldest of the towers built in 1239. We sat on the steps of the Duomo eating a slice of pizza and drawing in the atmosphere of the Piazza Del Doumo and the adjoining larger Piazza Della Cisterna. It was named after a well that sits in the middle of the Piazza and is the centre of the old part of town.

The towers of San Gimignano - an amazing sight. I'm glad we went there.
 We moved on from San Gimignano in the mid-afternoon arriving back at Monticchiello in time to enjoy the sun setting over the Tuscan hills with a chilled glass of Bianco.

Andrew, our son joins me for a glass of chilled Bianco as the sun sets over the Tuscan hills.
The following day was to be our last day in Tuscany with Andrew. We were driving to Chuisi to have our Citroen C3 serviced and then taking the train to Florence so Andrew could fly out to Moscow, but that's another story full of misadventure and drama. More of that next Wednesday.


  1. What a beautiful place and I just love that door. As for the cardi I did the same thing with a leather jacket in S.Africa and I realised almost immediately, but it was already too late. I was not a happy person!! Diane

  2. Looking back, we realise we visited some amazing places.
    Isn't it an awful feeling when you leave something behind and then after returning, find it has been stolen.

  3. For a minute I thought you had been here in Italy recently but I see now it was already four years ago. I hope you will be able to rekindle some of your memories now you are as you are so kindly following although I could not see you on followers list. Thanks for commenting and letting me know you found me via Diane. I look forward to getting to know you.

  4. Nice to hear from you. Yes it was 2006 in Italy but lately its been every wednesday on the blog which helps to rekindle memories. France has been our destination since then with trips in 2008/9/10.
    Look forward to your future posts and we will become followers.

  5. We(son,sister and I) visited San Gimignano in August-the crowds were horrendous! We were staying in Palaia which is just a bit further north. Alex and I returned later to ride the nearby countryside. Truly beautiful. Wanna, hafta go back!


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