As everyone knows, Italy is a nation of a thousand architectural contrasts.
Often, in fact, the elements of the past marry with those of the present, at other times they replace them and, then, there are cases in which the past remains perpetually present as if it had been transported to the present day with a time machine.
One of these last examples is the city of San Gimignano, a beautiful Tuscan village in the Province of Siena where the Middle Ages are still alive in buildings, shops, streets and alleys.
The strategic destination for anyone visiting Tuscany as it’s relatively close to the well-known cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena (from which it’s not many kilometres away), San Gimignano was born around the third century BC and continued to expand until approximately the fourteenth century AD., when it experienced its decline which, however, gave it the characteristic appearance that made it a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.
San Gimignano is a city with a strong tourist vocation, but it’s also known for its craftsmanship, for the production of Vernaccia (a wine), the well-known saffron and extra virgin olive oil, so it’s natural to find dishes in this area that contain at least one of these ingredients.
There are no particular typical dishes of this city, but it’s common to find products on the tables that contain what this beautiful land produces.
However, to think San Gimignano is only what is written above would be somewhat simplistic.
Like all Italian cities, in fact, San Gimignano is also history and culture and although it’s not a city of enormous dimensions, here you can find many places to visit.
First of all the places to visit if you go to San Gimignano is the historic center which, as mentioned, in 1990 was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. In addition to this, the towers of San Gimignano are also worth seeing. The city, in fact, despite its small size, has 14 towers which made it earn the title of Manhattan of the Middle Ages.
But San Gimignano is not only the historic center, in this city also the sacred architecture is flourishing and deserves to be admired in its 17 churches, as is the civil and military architecture rich in palaces and fortresses among which must be visited the Fonti Medievali, the Loggia del Comune, the Town Hall, the Walls of San Gimignano and the Rocca di Montestaffoli.
In addition to architecture, the city also offers several museums to visit in particular, importance is the Museo Civico and the Museo Diocesano, but also the Museo Peugeot (dedicated to the famous car manufacturer) and the Museo Della Tortura (a museum dedicated to all medieval instruments and techniques of torture also containing documents of the Saint Inquisition) deserve a special mention.
As often happens in Italy and around the world, San Gimignano is also home to several events that take place throughout the year, there are really many events that take place in San Gimignano, but the following deserve a special mention:
- The Concerto di Capodanno (January 1st)
- The Festa Patronale (January 31)
- The Carnevale di San Gimignano (January – February)
- The event full of events and shows Accadde d’Estate (from June to September)
- Ferie delle Messi (June)
In conclusion, San Gimignano is a place to discover. History, culture and food can be found in its medieval-flavoured streets, during a holiday that will remain embedded in anyone’s heart.