San Gimignano

On Friday (24th July) we set out early and took a road trip to San Gimignano - about an hour or so away from where we were staying at the villa.

San Gimignano is a medieval hill top fortified city and is renowned for its many towers - everywhere you look there are more.

While San Gimignano is one of the smaller towns we have visited, it is by far one of the more beautiful. The medieval architecture combined with towers in every direction makes for post-card photos everywhere you look.

As you walk through the main city gates, the narrow cobble stone roads lead you up toward the main Piazza. This initial street is lined with shops (for the tourists).

We stopped in a nice little cafe to grab a snack and a coffee before heading into the main piazza. The cafe was full to the brim with beautiful biscotti and chocolates - so we had to sample a few - my favourite was a biscotti covered in pine nuts with a moist almond meal centre.

Continuing our wandering through the main shopping street I recognised a deli that I visited last time I was here (in 2008). Last time I was here I drooled over the look, smell and taste of the local wild boar salami - however, for whatever reason, didn't buy any...

I didn't make that mistake twice, and sampled all of the varieties of salami that were on offer before making my purchase of some Salami Cinghiale (wild boar).

After a good wandering through the various shops in San Gimignano, we eventually made it up to the main piazza. From there we continued on walking to the highest point in the city and up onto some of the ancient walls for a spectacular view of both the city and the countryside that surrounds it.

You definitely get a sense for why citys were built on top of the hills in this part of Italy - you can see for miles around - and San Gimignano with its fortifications and many towers would have been well placed to defend itself from any foe.

After some more wandering around the ancient city, we started to head back for the car - but not without stopping off at 'the best gelato' place in the world. Funnily enough there was another gelato store right across the street that was proclaiming the same thing.

The gelato was nice all the same - lemon and pistachio.

Once we made it back to the cars, our next stop was Siena train station. Today was Rod and Caz's last day with us before heading back home - and they had to catch their train from Siena.

a short trip from San Gimignano got us into Siena in no time and had Rod and Caz on the train as scheduled.

We headed back home to the villa to spend the rest of the afternoon in the pool - until an afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and bought the rain with it. We didn't complain though as it also bought the temperature down from about 38c to a much more bearable 25c.