And finally the last part of the account of our holiday in Italy …
Wednesday San Gamignano
We were flicking through the guides and information we had been left at the villa last week along with those we had brought with us to decide where to go the next day. More accurately we were drinking Chianti by the pool. Happy times.
Anyway we decided to go to San Gimignano, town of 72 towers. Well it used to have 72 towers built by the wealthy families in the renaissance. However 500 years of neglect, the disappearance of family blood lines and battles between the families have meant most of the towers have fallen down because of lack of maintenance or been destroyed as one family triumphed over another leaving 14 standing today. Though we couldn’t count that many :-/
Anyway, anyone playing “Assassin’s Creed” the video game can cavort merrily through the streets of San Gimignano as it was at the height of its power in the Renaissance as I found when looking up the town on the Internet. So, how was it? Well brilliant. It was only about 30 minutes drive through beautiful Tuscan countryside from our villa. No trekking along boring Auto Stradas for this day trip.
The area is apparently well known for jewellery making (there are a lot of very nice artisan silver and goldsmiths in the town), hand painted pottery and the production of saffron. The crochuses there give two crops a year and for a spice so highly prized that’s a bonus, explaining in part why the town became so wealthy. You can even buy Saffron ice cream at the gellatorias in the town square.
The town’s fort is a little run-down, though not ruinous and the duomo, like much of the town was shelled during the second world war – though nobody has apparently ever admitted doing so! However you wouldn’t know as the town is absolutely bloody beautiful. Go there if you are in Tuscany, and visit the Cisterna Bar in the square near the duomo for a Robusta toasted sandwich. Nice.
And we even got back in time for a dip in the pool before popping out for dinner. Sorted.