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Photo Essay: San Gimignano in Tuscany, Italy

by Emiel Van Den Boomen

Old picture San Gimignano

San Gimignano delle belle Torri –
Beautiful towers of San Gimignano.

This small medieval town 60 kilometers south of Florence is one of the most famous destinations in Tuscany, Italy. The families who used to control this town built around 72 tower houses as a symbol of their power and wealth. ‘Only’ 14 towers survived. San Gimignano is known as the City of the Towers and a very popular day trip.

Towers of San Gimignano

Towers city Italy

Tuscany landscape

Situated on a hill, the view of the typical Tuscan landscape is stunning.

Window Italy

City with towers in Italy

Watching up to the towers

We people have a thing with towers. We look up to them as they are always impressive. When we want to take their picture they have us lay down on the ground, almost like an act of humbleness.

Towers of San Gimignano

Building all the 72 towers, the families of San Gimignano entered into a kind of informal contest of building the highest one. If you could have your own tower, wouldn’t you make it as high as possible? At least higher than your neighbor just to show off?

The historic centre of San Gimignano (which is a UNESCO world heritage) is not that big. You will find many restaurants and shops, but the best thing is to just sit down at the square and watch people (and tower houses of course!).

View Tuscany San Gimignano


How to get to San Gimignano

We used local transport to get from Florence to San Gimignano: the bus. There are two important things you need to know: (1) Localize the SITA bus station in Florence and (2) make sure to distinguish the fast and the slow bus.
The SITA bus station is close to the Central Train Station in Florence, but still hard to find if you don’t know where to look. I could say it’s just around the corner, but there are many corners. Just ask people on the street, it’s part of the travel fun I guess!

The fast bus is the one to Sienna. This one will use the highway. We (accidentally) took the slow bus (via Poggibonsi). It took us around 1.5 hours but we passed beautiful little villages and enjoyed the Tuscan landscape. If you have the time, take the slow bus!

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Bama July 7, 2013 - 11:55

I can never get bored of the pictures of Italy. The old towers, the beautiful vineyards, your pictures definitely managed to capture the quintessential Italian soul of this town.

Emiel van den Boomen July 8, 2013 - 22:38

Thank you Bama, really appreciated.

Melanie Murrish July 1, 2013 - 10:48


Emiel van den Boomen July 6, 2013 - 23:24

Thanks Melanie!

On A Junket July 1, 2013 - 06:28

Ciao! Como stai… I could imagine the people during the time walking about, the family members looking down at the workers, admiring the beautiful day…

Emiel van den Boomen July 6, 2013 - 23:24

Ciao! It would be great to see how the people walked the city and its towers during those days….travel back in time would be a nice feature!

Jenna Francisco June 30, 2013 - 22:27

I can’t wait to take my kids to this town. I was there a couple of times in the 1990s. I love that you gave such specific advice for how to get there–very useful!

Emiel van den Boomen July 6, 2013 - 23:19

Thanks Jenna. Your kids will love Tuscany. Wait until the book from Laurel is published, full of travel tips for families!


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