We picked up a rental car at the Florence airport and headed out of the city bound for our apartment rental further south about halfway between Florence and Siena.
Since we were passing by, we decided there was no way we could miss an afternoon in San Gimignano, one of the most iconic walled medieval towns in the region. We parked and walked up a winding hill to the gate of the town; the entryway to a place still bustling with people after over 1,500 years.
We browsed the wide selection of shops in the town for most of the morning, many of which sat atop Etruscan tombs from the original settlers of the area circa 250 AD. It absolutely amazed me that below many of the wine or cheese shops, you meander your way down some narrow passageways several levels below the ground. Walking along the main road a bit further you eventually arrive at the main square, the Piazza della Cisterna, the center of which hosts a well dating back to 1346. The surrounding architecture contains many examples of medieval watchtowers and fortifications, the number of which in one location is quite unique, as many of towers in surrounding towns were destroyed by conflict and natural disaster over the centuries.
We had lunch at a restaurant in the square and then wandered around the side streets where some of the residential areas were. Just as with everywhere else we'd visited, there were many interesting compositions on the side of the road just waiting to be captured.
We ended the day with a walk to one of the higher points in the town where we climbed up an old wall to view the town below. The small gateway through the wall shrouded by branches and vines was one of my favorite scenes of the day.
For other posts in my Italy series, see below: