I always recommend meeting in San Gimignano in the morning for this tour, as we will likely find many fewer tour groups than in the afternoon. In the middle ages this charming hilltop town boasted 72 towers, celebrating the wealth and the power of the different merchant and moneylender families. Conspicuous consumption in the middle ages was all about building the tallest and most impressive tower, something modern Italians do now with the flashiest and most expensive Ferrari, Lamborghini or Maserati! During this full day tour, I will take you to discover how the town is today, with its 14 remaining towers. After meeting up at one of the two main city gates where the medieval city walls are still completely visible, we will head up into the town, stopping at the most interesting points along the way and learning about the history. We will certainly stop at Torre Cugnanesi and the three main squares, the first one named after the cistern at its center, the second where City Hall and Duomo face each other across the little market square, called Piazza delle Erbe. The Duomo in San Gimignano is one of the few churches in Italy that is completely frescoed. Franco Zeffirelli, famous Italian movie director, filmed Tea with Mussolini at the end of the 90s in this church. The Civic Museum holds a precious collection of wooden paintings dating from the 13th to 16th Centuries, works by artists such as Benozzo Gozzoli, Filippino Lippi and Pinturicchio. We won't leave San Gimignano without tasting the best gelato in Tuscany! Squeeze into the tiny shop and pick from unique and delicious flavors, some only available at this gelateria.
Right before lunch we will head on to another medieval town, Siena, and after a break for a meal in a local trattoria, we will arrive to Italy's most unique square, the shell shaped Piazza del Campo. The Town Hall is located in this square in a prominent position, which has been the political center of Siena for the last seven centuries as well as the location of the twice-yearly famous horse race, the Palio. Together we will climb to the highest of the three hills of Siena to reach the Duomo, considered one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Italy with unforgettable frescoes in the Piccolomini Library. And as we say “dulcis in fundo” or “sweets at the end,” we will end your tour with a taste of local ricciarelli, our typical almond pastry.