If you like towers, you’ll like San Gimignano, the medieval Manhattan: this is the town where many centuries ago wealthy merchants built yet bigger and higher towers in an effort to outdo their rivals.
San Gimignano is a small, walled town in Tuscany. The medieval architecture remains intact and it’s a wonderfully atmospheric place to wander around. The compact city center is based around four squares: Piazza della Cisterna, the Piazza Duomo, Piazza Pecori and Piazza delle Erbe, and two main roads, heading north and south, Via San Matteo an Via San Giovanni.
Fourteen of the city’s original towers still exist making it unique and a must-see in Tuscany. For a wonderful view, especially at sunset, climb the tower of the Palazzo Comunale in the Piazza Duomo. The towers of the Podesta’s Palace, which is now the civic museum, are also worthwhile for their view of the Duomo. For a view of the city itself head up to the castle on the hilltop Rocca, a little bit further to walk so less crowded and with great views of the surrounding countryside also. As well as views and history, the city is at the heart of wine-making country so there are many places to taste and buy wine or you can take a tour just out of town to a winery and learn how its made and taste the vintage.
If you have kids who are getting bored, they’ll enjoy the Medieval Criminal and Torture Museum, as much entertainment as history. Similarly there is the Museo Storico della Tortura along the same themes: San Gimignano clearly has a rich history in crime and punishment.
San Gimignano is also great for shopping, full of enotecas, bookshops, souvenir shops, leather good shops etc.