Wednesday, 21 November 2012

San Gimignano

'San Gimignano delle belle Torri' is in Tuscany, 56 km south of Florence. It served as an important relay point for pilgrims travelling to or from Rome on the Via Francigena. The patrician families who controlled the town built around 72 tower-houses (some as high as 50 m) as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano has retained its feudal atmosphere and appearance. The town also has several masterpieces of 14th- and 15th-century Italian art -
Unless you've played Assassin's Creed II, it's unlikely you would've heard of San Gimignano. Halfway (ish) between Siena and Florence, it's not really on the way from one to the other, making it even less likely of a stop. However, it is a UNESCO site after all, so we dutifully headed there after we'd ticked Pisa off the list.

The drive took us through some beautiful, postcardy Tuscan landscapes. The town itself is hard to miss, even from afar - its towers jutting out like ancient office buildings.
Close up, the stone towers are even more imposing. Funny to think that their main purpose seems to have been to show off - maybe they were compensating for something?
A recurring theme of our trip (aside from UNESCO sites) is walking up a lot of stairs to get to the top of a tall thing and take photos from it. In a city famed for a large number of tall towers, San Gimignano was no exception.
I'm sure we could just jump right off with no ill effects, just like in Assassin's Creed, right??
Aside from the towers, San Gimignano was a very charming town, full of picturesque scenes like this:
I was also slightly tempted to get this boar's head as a souvenir, if not for the fact that it cost 300 Euro and I probably would've featured on an episode of Border Patrol, had I attempted to get this past the biosecurity staff at Auckland Airport. A shame, because just think of the hipster bragging rights! 'Oh, this? I picked this up from a little town in Tuscany...'
Finally, the obligatory UNESCO logo shot (the small towns seem to be much keener to promote their UNESCO status).
[Flickr set here

No comments:

Post a Comment