San Gimignano: A Hilltop Medieval Gem

Province of Siena, Tuscany, Italy.  June 2015

View of San Gimignano town from Siena.
View of San Gimignano town from Siena.

After exploring Siena, we boarded our bus and continued our journey to our next destination, the old Etruscan town of San Gimignano… a hilltop medieval gem located in the province of Siena, looking glorious under the Tuscan sun, its many towers reaching up to the blue skies like slender, tanned fingers.

Because it contains “ masterpieces of Italian art of architectural setting”; bearing “exceptional testimony to medieval civilization depicting structures of typical urban life” as well as showcasing “the urban landscape of Florence” with its many towers, the San Gimignano Historical Center became enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

San Gimignano is also a walled town protecting its well preserved architectural treasures inside, never failing to impress the tourists with its age-old traditions and charm.
San Gimignano is also a walled town protecting its well preserved architectural treasures inside, never failing to impress the tourists with its age-old traditions and charm.

San Gimignano is famous for its many medieval architecture and towers symbolizing the power and wealth of the family that made it. The taller and loftier the tower, the more powerful and wealthy it made the family behind its construction look.

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Vernaccia is an ancient grape variety grown around the hillsides of San Gimignano to produce the famous white wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Aside from its famous towers and well preserved medieval architecture inside this walled town, San Gimignano is also known for its famous white wine Vernaccia di San Gimignano derived from Vernaccia, an ancient grape variety that is grown in the surrounding hills of this walled, originally Etruscan town.

An arched entrance made of bricks is typical of the many entrances aroundComune di San Gimignano.
An arched entrance made of bricks is typical of the many entrances aroundComune di San Gimignano.

As we went through these great looking brick entrances around town, we were filled with a feeling of greatness and power which this town was built on. Once we were inside and surrounded with its ancient medieval beauty, who would have thought that at one point in its history, this town was touched by the Black Death plague killing half of its inhabitants and destroying its economy almost beyond repair. But nowadays, the old charm of San Gimignano has been restored, attracting many visitors and tourists and not even the history of the plague could scare the visitors away to experience this unique town.

 

These are the quaint, narrow streets inside San Gimignano as you walk around the boundary of its walls so you can view the hillsides around it.

Inside this Etruscan-walled town, we forgot we were in the 21st century for a few hours for as we walked around inside its fortresses and walls, we were transported into a different timeline from long, long ago and we went along with it because it felt so delicious and so exciting to imagine.

Even the shops inside the walls of San Gimignano follow a certain look to preserve the feudal atmosphere and appearance it once had.
Even the shops inside the walls of San Gimignano follow a certain look to preserve the feudal atmosphere and appearance it once had.

Lunch was served by a Tuscan kitchen with pasta and bruschetta, day-old bread brushed with olive oil, rubbed with a bit of garlic topped with tomatoes and salami on the side. Once again, I was too hungry to remember to take a photo of the tomato pasta before I devoured it. Vernaccia di San Gimignano white wine was served with our lunch.

Me with the Comune di San Gimignano perched on a hilltop at the background.
Me with the Comune di San Gimignano perched on a hilltop at the background.

Thank you for joining me today in another exciting journey back in time in the walled Comune di San Gimignano.  Join me next week as I continue my journey to check out why the Tower of Pisa is leaning in Pisa, Italy.

 

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