San Gimignano

San Gimignano has a nickname: medieval Manhattan, and as one approaches the village this is easy to understand. The small town stands out from the landscape with its tall towers, on a small hill 330 meters above sea level.

The city was founded by the Etruscans in the 3rd century BC and is Italy’s best-preserved medieval town. San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Walking around the city you get a real sense that you are in the 15th century. In the Middle Ages, the city grew rich in trade, due to its central location in relation to Siena, Florence, Rome and Pisa. In the middle of the 14th century, the city suffered due to the Black Death, which led to Florence taking over the city. This is probably the reason why the city is so well preserved today.

Known for its many towers

San Gimignano is famous for its many towers. Originally, the city had 72 towers. 14 of the towers are still in their original place. Torre Grossa is the tallest tower with its 54 meters. The view from the top of the tower is breathtaking. The towers were a symbol of wealth, and rival rich families fought to build the tallest tower.

The city is also known for its wine Vernaccia (grape) di San Gimignano and saffron. Today, many tourists also take the opportunity to buy reasonably priced, quality, leather goods. Remember that here it is possible and locals are not offended if you want to haggle over the price.

The world’s best ice cream

Buy a gelato from Sergio Dondoli. He runs the world’s best gelato bar “Gelateria di Piazza” in Piazza della Cisterna. He constantly wins awards for his fantastic ice cream, and is known for experimenting with new flavors. Try for example; sorbetto alla Vernaccia (grape), Pistacchio (made from the famous nuts from Bronte in Sicily) champelmo (champagne and grapefruit) or chocolate ice cream made from grand cru chocolate from Central America.

San Gimignano is a tourist magnet, but is definitely worth the trip!