Those who go in search of landscape features in the Sienese lands have the obligation to stop in San Gimignano, the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”.
The historic center
The most characteristic part of the city, that is the one circumscribed by the walls, has been a UNESCO heritage site since 1990.
The inhabited area stands on a hill strategically chosen by the Etruscans, but it is in medieval times and in particular in the municipal period that it experienced its greatest fortune, thanks to its position, at the center of various directions of power, traffic and trade: between Siena , Pisa and Florence, but also a stop on the most important pilgrimage route for those who passed through Italy, the Via Francigena.
Today only 13 of the towers that crowded the city streets remain intact, they were in fact 72 in the late medieval period.
This is because, between moments of spending and decadence, in S. Gimignano, a law of the fourteenth century forbade the demolition of old houses, if not to build more beautiful ones.
The towers were therefore a symbol of power and a source of pride for powerful families, who competed (litigation is a recurring trait in the Tuscan DNA), erecting structures that defied statics (as well as the architectural possibilities of the time).
What to visit?
In San Gimignano, the Cathedral and the square in front, the Chapel of Santa Fina, the Civic Museum and Piazza della Cisterna are undoubtedly worth visiting. In fine weather, the view from the Rocca di Montestaffoli is absolutely worth it.
Those looking for accommodation here can choose from the few and expensive rooms in the historic center, or opt for some nice agritourism in the countryside.
Food & Wine
Lovers of good food will be well satisfied by the Vernaccia di San Gimignano (an excellent white wine) and by the precious saffron which, given its enormous value, was repeatedly used as a bargaining chip to pay the city’s debts.