Port of Call, Livorno, Italy – Time to Visit the Enchanting Medieval Town San Gimignano.
High on a Tuscan hill, surrounded by medieval walls, boasting Romanesque and Gothic Architecture, 14 Towers, several churches, many shops and endless charm lies the Italian town San Gimignano (see my photos here). Although we have visited in the past, we couldn’t resist returning to share this breathtaking town with friends!
Because we were in four and wanted to see some surrounding area, we rented a car in the port area of Livorno and were quickly on our way. Tip: If you are arriving on a Sunday, make sure you have pre-booked your car! The train takes 3 hours one way and has a stop / train change in Poggibonsi, so it was not really an option. The views on our drive were amazing. We chose to take the longer route and drive along the seafront going, and through the countryside to return.
San Gimignano, also known as the Town of Fine Towers is an Architectural beauty, boasting both Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Whether it be the churches, the walls or the private dwellings, architectural examples are at every turn! Surprisingly, almost 7,000 continue to inhabit this medieval town!
Piazzas and towers, walls and stones hailing from medieval times come together to create this stunning feudal town. The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although at one point in history there were 72 towers, only 14 remain. These medieval high-rises were built for the nobles and wealthy to live in, emphasising their power and prosperity.
From a tourist perspective, San Gimignano offers amazing vistas and photo opportunities. From high atop the hill, gorgeous panoramas of the Tuscan countryside stretch as far as the eye can see. Dotted with villages and vineyards, it is no wonder the patrician families built their tower houses here – room with a view!
Of course shopping goes with every tourist attraction, and San Gimignano is no exception. The two main medieval streets are lined with shops offering their wares; postcards, cookbooks, ceramics, leather, crafts, wines, cheese, and so much more. After some sampling, we settled on some cheese, moved on to buy some bread and then found some spicy salumi which we ravenously consumed on the Collegiate Church of the Assumption of Mary stairs, watching the world go by.
After tower climbing, street wandering, crowd fighting, rain and sun, panoramic views and shopping, we make our way out of the majestic stone walls of magical San Gimignano.