‘San Gimignano delle belle Torri’ is 32 miles southwest of Florence in the Val d’Elsa. It is one of the best preserved medieval towns in Italy and is considered the Manhattan of Tuscany.
Things to do: Visit the Piazza della Cisterna, climb the Torre Grossa, visit the Civic Museum. Tour the Romanesque Collegiata and the Church of Sant’Agostino with a 15th-century fresco cycle by Benozzo Gozzoli, head over to the torture museum for some cool selfies.
Here’s a good link: San Gimignano 1 day itinerary
The town experienced a period of economic wealth and flourished artistically in the mid-1300s from merchants and pilgrims traveling along the Via Francigena.
The majestic skyline of noble Medieval towers are enclosed in a 13th century wall that was built for defensive purposes. The towers were built as a symbol of status and wealth by s wealthy families. The family with the highest tower, attempted to exhibit the most power.
“According to official decree, no other tower in San Gimignano could surpass that of La Rognosa.” In the year 1300, 70 towers symbolized the 70 wealthy families inhabiting San Gimignano; today, only 13 towers are left from the original 72. The Torre Grossa is still open to the public. Even though only 13 of the original towers have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance.
It is the Tuscany, UNESCO 1990, proclaimed: “this masterpiece of creative human genius, it is unique testimony to a past civilization, and as an exceptional exemplar of both architectonic complex and landscape, demonstrates significant passages in human history.”
The town has several masterpieces of 14th and 15th century Italian art. known artists from the Sienese school traveled to San Gimignano to paint: Simone Martini, Lippo Memmi and Puccio Taddeo di Bartolo.
Visit the Romanesque Basilica of the Assumption of Mary. Visit the splendid Chapel of Santa Fina with frescoes by Domenico del Ghirlandaio that depict episodes from her life: “The Annunciation” and “Death of Saint Fina” were painted in 1478 in The Chapel of Santa Fina at the Romanesque Collegiata cathedral. In the cathedral there are also notable frescos by Bartolo di Fredi and Benozzo Gozzoli. Taddeo di Bartolo’s frescoes including the “Last Judgement” (1393-1396) are amazing.
Saffron and chilled Vernaccia are abundant in San Gimignano. Vernaccia is one of Italy’s finest whites and is often served with fish. It was even the first Italian wine to bear the title Controlled Designation of Origin (D.O.C.) in 1966. The vineyards can be seen along the road from Poggibonsi to San Gimignano. Check out the Museo del Vino della Vernaccia, in the Villa della Rocca di Montestaffoli.
The grape harvest takes place from late September to early October. Vernaccia Normale can be bottled in March, while the Riserva must be aged in the wine cellars for one year.
Climb 175 feet to the top of Museo Civico’s forbidding fortress completed in 1311. Climb to the top of the tower through the museum entrance for a panoramic view. After your climb to the top of the tower, you have definitely earned the “World’s Best Gelato” at Pluripremiata in the square by the cistern, Piazza della Cisterna. I tried a few of the flavors and loved them all!
To learn more about Tuscany visit www.vino-con-vista.com