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Published: October 9th 2013
Some of the famous towers of San Gimignano
Years ago, I’d been told by George LoGrasso, an Art teacher at Loreto Normanhurst, that his favourite place in Italy was San Gimignano. Since then, I’d been keen to visit this place and today we took that opportunity. As it is difficult to reach easily by public transport, we decided to do the 1½ hour drive through the picturesque Tuscan countryside. The day was quite mild, although rain was forecast for the afternoon.
Approaching San Gimignano, you can see the village and the multiple mediaeval towers for which it is famous set in a patchwork of olive orchards and vineyards. We parked relatively easily just outside the walls…the usual hordes of summer tourists have all but disappeared! When we arrived almost everything we wanted to see was closed for lunch and in the case of the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta (the Duomo), a funeral. By the time we’d had lunch ourselves and checked out the town, large black storm clouds were gathering. They looked very foreboding in the area where there was a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. By the time we’d had a delicious gelato from the “twice world champion” gelato artisan, the clouds had dispersed so
we headed to the beautiful Duomo, whose interior is bathed in 14th
Century frescoes, telling the stories of the Old and New Testaments. Of special interest was the Chapel of Santa Fina, a local saint who chose to spend the last days of her terminal illness lying on a wooden board. On her death, flowers are said to have sprouted from the board and these flowers continue to sprout in the tower walls each year on the anniversary of her death.
We decided to return to Lucca via the "non-toll" route...very scenic with a beautiful sunset!
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