Italian region of Tuscany is extremely rich with very charming little towns. San Gimignano and Volterra are a few of them. These two tiny pearls in hilly valleys are perfect locations for getting away from city rush, enjoying the Medieval atmosphere, taking pleasant walks, admiring views and relaxing with good food and wine. These places can be easily reached by car, by regional transportation from the main surrounding towns like Florence, Pisa or Siena or by taking organized countryside tours to San Gimignano and Volterra.
San Gimignano – town of towers
On the way in between Florence and Siena there lies an architectural treasure – walled medieval hill town of San Gimignano. This place had a very important role in the Middle Ages, because appeared as a very natural stop for pilgrims, who were travelling to Rome. Despite the fact that this town by itself is very charming, the main its feature is towers. History tells that hundreds of years ago families living there wanted to show up their status. Possibilities to do so were not that easy in terms of spatial width, so local merchants decided to express their advantages over the others by building the towers. The higher the tower was, the greater the place in the informal contest was achieved. However, none of these towers could be built taller than the main one, known as Ragnosa. In the supreme period San Gimignano had 72 towers, of which today remained only 14. If looking to such tiny city of today, it is even hard to imagine this huge number of rooks, which were shooting up to the sky during the Medieval times.
San Gimignano is a town rich with architectural, artistic and cultural heritage. Every visitor can find there his own point of interest.
In earlier times San Gimignano, protected as UNESCO world heritage site, was famous for the production of saffron. However, today the main product of this town is white wine, made from grapes growing in the surrounding areas.
Volterra – inspiration for creative souls
Volterra is another breathtaking walled town in Tuscany, depicting Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Renaissance epochs. This place is equally charming as San Gimignano, but at the same time offers a little bitt less touristy atmosphere.
Volterra during the centuries attracted many artists, who left various deep craftsmanship traditions there. If one leads the street named Via Porta all’Arco, he will face various particular leather and bronze shops, jewelry stores and binderies, mirroring very well the ancient times.
Volterra, the same as San Gimignano, is rich in history and is saving huge artistic and archeological legacy. As well it offers unique Tuscanian panoramic views. It is not surprising that the scene of picturesque Cecina Valley inspired many various poets, writers and painters for their great works.
By the way, it could be interesting to know that exactly Volterra appeared as one of the filming locations for the famous movie about vampires “The Twilight Saga: New Moon”.