After a week in Tuscany, I have over 200 photos on my laptop–and those are just the keepers! It’s practically impossible to take a bad photo here, even with my ordinary little camera. Even in winter. I’ve already shared them with friends and family, but I’ll post a few here, as well, in batches.
The first set of photos are from San Gimignano. We went there on New Year’s Day because we figured even if nothing was open, it would still be a great place to walk around.
Well, as it turned out, practically everything was open, and the place was crowded with Italian tourists! It was a beautiful, sunny day, and I guess a lot of people decided to have a day out from nearby Florence or Siena.
San Gimignano is a medieval walled town perched on a hilltop. It is famous mostly because it still retains the big, solid, square towers that Tuscan nobles built so that they could keep an eye on each other back in the day. In most other towns these have been torn down and recycled as building materials.
It is touristy, but in the best possible way: perhaps because the place is popular with Italians, the focus is on the local food and wine specialties and quality local handicrafts like ceramics and carved olive wood items.
There’s also quite a bit of walking and climbing involved in getting around, which keeps the ubiquitous herds of chubby and/or elderly German and American tourists under control. On the day we were there, we overheard almost no German or English being spoken in the streets and saw only one or two organized tour groups of any kind. It was almost all Italian couples and families wandering around shopping, snacking and talking a mile a minute (they are very good at that in Italy).
It was a lovely day spent rambling around, having an excellent lunch (of course!) and doing a bit of shopping. This was my second visit to San Gimignano—we visited many years ago when we were posted to Prague—but if we come back to Tuscany again before leaving Europe, I would visit it again in a heartbeat.