Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Holiday in Tuscany {Part Two} ǀ Travel

I have to apologise for not getting part two of our holiday in Tuscany posted sooner; life has just gotten a little crazy lately and I didn't manage to sit down and get it written until now.  You can see part one here if you want to catch up.

After our jaunt around Volterra, we headed back to the holiday apartment to get changed before setting out again to explore San Gimignano.  This is something that we definitely wouldn't have been able to do if we had Meg and Eli with us so although I missed them like crazy, it was nice to just go out knowing that it didn't matter what time we got back again!


San Gimignano is probably one of the more famous towns in the area and is known as the 'Town of Fine Towers' thanks to the medieval towers which make up the skyline.  I actually first came across the town after watching Tea with Mussolini so it was fascinating to actually be able to visit.  Although only 14 or so towers remain, at one point there were around 72 of these tower houses which must have really been a sight.


San Gimignano is one of those places which doesn't look like much when you first arrive.  We parked at the bottom of the town and it was quite a walk into the main touristy part and we passed crowds of people along the way.  Although it's a pretty town, the cobbled streets are mainly made up of shops and restaurants, until you hit the Piazza della Duomo.



This Piazza is home to a number of the town's main attractions including the Piazza Comunale and the Torre Grossa (the Great Tower).




When we arrived it, unfortunately, started to rain and we almost called off our plans to climb the Tower and look out across the city but by the time we had scaled the many steps to the top it had actually stopped and we were able to get some stunning views across the town and out to the surrounding countryside.  Although it's definitely not for those who are afraid of heights, being 177 feet high, I would highly recommend paying the €5 or so to climb the Tower.  The views were just amazing.  I won't lie...I was pretty terrified and hung around in the centre closest to the bell but even from there I could see plenty.

It's a fairly easy endeavour if you go at your own pace although there is an awkward climb right at the top when you have to pass through a narrow gap after scaling a 15 rung ladder.  For me, coming down was worse than going up as I had thoughtlessly worn a dress!


After we had climbed the Tower we also wandered into the Musei Civici which features some beautiful artwork and the Palace Courtyard which is home to the tower's original bell.  All of these were included in our entry price for the Tower.



Having had our fill of the main 'touristy' things we decided to just take a wander around the streets and see what we came across, starting with some award-winning gelato from Gelateria Dondoli.  Honestly, the queues out of this tiny shop were HUGE but it was well worth the wait.  Having eaten gelato a number of times throughout our trip this was hands-down the best we had and I'd go back to San Gimignano in a heartbeat just to try some more.  Have a look at our vlog for more of the gelato on offer.

Lucky for us the sun made an appearance right after we made our purchases and we found a beautiful viewing spot again, over the Tuscan countryside where we could sit and eat.  This was probably my favourite part of the day as it was so chilled and relaxed; we knew we were going to eat shortly and could just take our time and soak up the surroundings.  There were lots of tourists about, more so than in Volterra but that didn't matter so much as we just parked ourselves in a spot and stayed there until we were ready to move on.


We had booked a table at a restaurant earlier in the day so we made our way there pretty slowly after that; the idea being that we would eat as the sun set and watch from the terrace.  I didn't manage to get many photos in the restaurant worth sharing but the sun set was as spectacular as we had hoped and really made the whole trip worth it.


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