San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a magical place.

It is home to some of the famous Italian medieval towers – 14 of the original 75 still stand.  They were probably built to demonstrate the power and wealth of their patrician families.  You find yourself constantly looking up at them.

We sat in the Piazza della Cisterna watching tourists at the cistern and eating tomatoes and mozerella washed down with freshly squeezed lemon juice, but they say the home made ice creams are excellent.

We visited the Collegieate (can’t call it a Duomo, as there is no bishop in residence) where frescoes of doom and damnation frightened the locals into acceptable behaviour.  The patron saint is St Fila, a young girl who suffered an incurable disease for 5 years, dying at age 15 as a virgin.

We also climbed the tower to get a wonderful view of Tuscany – forests, fields of crops, olive groves and vineyards.

Escher used the town’s skyline for one of his early woodcuts.  Look for it in the Picture Gallery, Italian Period, 1923 at

San Gimignano also produces a local white wine called Vernaccia.  I like it!