Last week I visited San Gimignano, this small, medieval town in Tuscany that is famous for its fine towers. Although, the town is quite small there is plenty to see. Churches, famous frescos, tower-houses, shops and the view on the surrounding landscape is well worth a visit.
As usual, I started by walking around and soaking in the medieval atmosphere. I went in to a few shops, tried some local delicacies and marvelled at the tall towers that made the city so famous.
In the middle ages there was a competition between rich families who tried to build the tallest tower to show off with their fortune. San Gimignano was a prosperous town until it was struck by the Black Death in 1348 when all development stopped. The town remained in its medieval state until the 19th century when the middle ages come into fashion and San Gimignano was rediscovered as a tourist destination.
During my visit to the Campatelli Tower-House I found out that some of the medieval structures in the city were “fake”. Some buildings were redesigned to fit in better with the medieval style and attract more tourists. Although, it was not what I expected it made San Gimignano even more interesting.
After learning about the town’s history it was time to get some refreshment so I lined up in front of Gelateria Dondoli, a world champion ice-cream shop. The queue was long and it was crazy inside. I couldn’t see all the flavours properly because of the crowd so I ended up choosing very quickly without knowing what I missed. I didn’t regret my decision, though. The olive, raspberry-rosemary and chestnut-rosemary combo was unique and really good.
By the time I finished with my gelato the sun was setting and it was time to go home. From the camping’s restaurant I could catch a final glimpse of the town and its towers and the beautiful Tuscan landscape before the sun went down and everything was covered in darkness.