|Here we enjoy the wonderfully fresh|
Vernaccia wine and some red....
|...overlooking this view!|
In 1199 the town made itself independent from the Volterra bishops and established a podestà, and started to beautify the city with churches and public buildings. However, for the next two centuries the peace was disturbed by conflicts between Guelphs and Ghibellines and family rivalries. This is the reason for all the towers. Families were building higher and higher towers and at the end of the Medieval period there were 72 towers, some as high as 70 metres (230 feet) tall. In the end the order was restored and the council restricted the height of the towers to be less than that of the Palazzo Comunale.
The town flourished until 1348 when it was struck by the plague. The Black Death affected all of Europe and in San Gimignano about half of the people died. The town then came under the rule of Florence. This inspired some Florentine style palazzos and many towers were reduced to the height of the houses. Luckily, there was not much further development and the town has preserved its medieval state until present days.
We took a slow stroll through the streets, aiming upwards as usual, to the Piazza Grande. In this area you find many of the towers. You really are transferred back in time and it is another pace. Looking into the wonderful small shops with Italian specialities and wine is a treat. Unfortunately, we only travelled with hand luggage so we had to enjoy the goodies on site. Well, I guess, that is probably the best.
|Wine, cheese, salami, prosciutto...what more do you need to make the day?|
Literature and film in San Gimignano
Not to forget the literary connections.
Tea with Mussolini, a drama from 1999 about English and American expatriate women in Italy during World War II was filmed here. The frescos that are seen in the film can be found inside the Duomo.
Franco Zeffirelli used it as a stand-in for the town of Assisi when he filmed St. Francis of Assisi. Most of the "Assisi" scenes were filmed here.
In the novel The Broker by John Grisham, Joel Backman takes his second of three wives on vacation in Italy to keep her from divorcing him. They rent a 14th-century monastery near San Gimignano for a month.
A fictionalised version of the town is featured in E.M. Forster's novel Where Angels Fear to Tread as Monteriano.