|by Wally Terry|
San Gimignano is a picturesque walled village located in the region of Tuscany. It is situated half way between Florence and Siena and is a great place to stop off for a night or two in a Tuscan Villa when travelling between the two cities. This medieval town boasts impressive ancient architecture that transports you back in time when visiting the village. Something unique to San Gimignano is that at the highest glory 72 towers were built to symbolise wealth and power around the village, today 14 still stand.
· Museum Santa Chiara-The Santa Chiara can museum can be found in Via Folgore da San Gimignano and is made up of two floors. The first floor is home to the archaeological museum and the second the modern art gallery. You can also catch temporary exhibitions on a regular basis here.
· Ornithological Museum-This unique museum is full of historical and naturalistic artefacts dating back from as early the 19th century. The museum also is home to the collection of Marianna Panciatichi Ximenes d’Aragona Paolucci who was greatly interested in ornithology. Most of the items were collected between 1866 and 1911 and come from the Monte Estate of San Gimignano.
Historic ChurchesSan Gimignano is home to lots of historic churches, nine to be precise. While visiting San Gimignano go and see-
· The Duomo Church-The Duomo Church is considered both a place of worship and temple of faith as well as the home to various works of art. The church is an impressive example of roman architecture and is well worth visiting.
· San Pietro Church-This church is one of the most ancient churches in San Gimignano and dates back to the 12th century. It is a small church that belongs to the Diocese of Voltera. Although small in size it is still an impressive place of worship that is very unique.
CuisineSan Gimignano is well known for its local produce and excellent restaurants. Italian food is one of the most popular cuisines worldwide so while visiting make sure you try what the village has to offer-
Sample Local Produce-
· Wine- San Gimignano boasts some well-known local wines, some of which date back from 1276. When visiting try- Vernaccia di San Gimignano, San Gimignano Rosso and San Gimignano Vin Santo.
· Olive Oil- In San Gimignano there are more than 800 hectares of olive trees used to produce the local olive oil. Sample it while you’re here and grab a bottle or two to take home as presents.
· Saffron- Saffron comes from the Crocus Sativus which is harvested locally to create the spice. The production of Saffron was key to the economy of the town as in 1228 the Commune paid off debts in an unusual way, paying in Saffron rather than money.