The towers of San Gimignano

San Gimignano Travel Blog

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The bus to San Gimignano wound through beautiful Tuscan countryside before reaching the small walled town renowned for its towers. The town was founded in the third century BCE by the Etruscans and reached its zenith in the 14th century, when it was hit by the plague and never recovered its former vitality.

Despite its miniscule size, with an old town barely 0.1km2,  San Gimignano was the ultimate in medieval high density living, with 72 towers up to 10 stories tall crowded together.  Other Tuscan towns of the period also had tall towers, such as Florence, but all except San Gimignano have lost them due to war or redevelopment. I climbed up one of the fourteen surviving towers to look down over the city. From that height you can really appreciate just how dense the people were living. San Gimignana is almost a single block of stone with one street running through it, houses are built stone to stone with each other and the thick wall. Looking down I could only imagine the fear that people must have once had of all outsiders, a fear that seems somewhat justified at the time, as the name San Gimignana comes from the bishop Saint Geminianus, who is said to have defended the town from Attila the Hun.

Adrian_Liston says:
Yeah, I really liked it. It is a tourist attraction, not an isolated hill village, but it is something worth seeing.
Posted on: May 04, 2010
troysgonewalkabout says:
Sounds like San Gimignano is worth a look? I'm headed this way in a few weeks...
Posted on: May 03, 2010
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San Gimignano
photo by: joesu