The distinctive skyline of the charming medieval village of San
Gimignano is redolent of a modern cityscape with its many towers,
hence its nickname the 'medieval Manhattan'.
Only 14 of the original 72 towers remain, however, which is
unsurprising as their dual role as status symbols and defensive
structures saw them caught in the middle of the many feuds and
battles that eventually caused the town's downfall. Nevertheless,
these 14 towers are among the best-preserved in Italy, and are the
envy of Florence and Bologna whose towers have long since been
destroyed. San Gimignano enjoyed an ideal position on the main
pilgrimage route connecting Northern Europe and Rome and prospered
during the Middle Ages. In modern times, its fortune stems from
tourism and wine production.
The ideal starting-point for a visit to San Gimignano is the
Piazza del Duomo, which is the centre of the town and framed by
historical buildings. Nearby is the Collegiata, a church dating
from the 11th Century and famed for its frescoes, which include
The Creationby Bartolo di Fredi. For shopping and
souvenirs, head to Via San Giovanni.