The Secrets of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a charming hill-top town nestled in the heart of Tuscany. It is famous for its medieval architecture, imposing towers and rather lovely white wine. However, there is more to this town than its reputation as a Tuscan hidden gem would have you believe and a new museum is now revealing the town’s enticing secret past!

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Although small, San Gimignano is home to 14 beautifully conserved towers, which offer unique views of the Tuscan countryside. However, one of the medieval towers shades a 19th-century bourgeois home that is nestled beside it, and this is where you can find the new Italian Environment Fund (FAI) museum, which is dedicated to the history of this charming town.

Torre and Casa Campatelli, as it is known, opened to the public in mid-April and sits in the heart of the UNESCO-protected Old Town. It reveals the aristocratic past of San Gimignano during the 13th century and the political significance of the towers, of which there were thought to have been 70 by the 14th century, although only 14 survive today.

The surprising effect of the museum’s exhibitions is the perception you are left with regarding the continuity of life – the town changed beyond recognition in the 13th and 14th centuries and yet Tuscan values and traditions persevered. Today, with San Gimignano becoming more popular with day tourists, the town is changing again and the FAI explained that the ultimate goal of the project, which was funded by €2 million of donations, is to encourage responsible tourism. In this regard, the displays are dedicated to those who are eager to understand the significance of the beauty of San Gimignano or those who are simply curious about the town’s past, so as to encourage the “slow traveler”, who spends time discovering the town,as an alternative to the “hit and run” tourist, who perhaps fell prey to an unlicensed tour guide.

Having lived in Tuscany for some time and visited San Gimignano, I can certainly attest to the enthusiasm that the locals have for international tourists – they are proud of their town and I believe really want to share their history with you. It is really worthwhile spending time in these small towns and hidden villages to give you a much deeper connection with the Italian culture and way of life. You can even join a tour with a local guide – we offer a private walking tour of San Gimignano with a professional and licensed guide so you can be sure that they will spend time showing you the town’s treasures and introducing you to the locals. We warn you though – there is little chance that you will escape one of our tours without sampling the local Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine!

 

If you want to find out more about our tailor-made tours of Tuscany, why not contact a member of our dedicated team on (UK) 01223 637331 or (US) 1-347-594-5500. You can also send an online enquiry and we’ll get back to you right away.

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