Medieval Manhattan

 

This fall, I have had the opportunity to share many of my travel adventures and recommendations with several different friends who are abroad. Coming back to my blog is a great way to remember what I did and share the highlights of my trips with others. I think everyone who travels should write about it, or else the details start to slip away.

The last two weeks of my summer abroad flew by so fast, I didn’t have the time to write about what was happening. Upon returning to the US, I started working crazy hours immediately and was soon engrossed in graduate school. Now, owing to my recent career path change, I have the time to begin writing again. While the memories are still fresh in my mind, it is important for me to get them down on paper. That way I remember where to go when I go back!

The second half of my last weekend in Tuscany was spent in San Gimignano, also known as Medieval Manhattan because of all of the ancient towers that can be seen from miles away. Towers were a sign of wealth in medieval times, so competing families tried to build the biggest and most impressive towers as a status symbol. What’s amazing is that some of these towers are still standing and it is possible to climb to the top of them today.

After recovering from heat exhaustion in my hotel room, I changed into my swim suit and went for a swim in the pool at the hotel. I went for a little bit of a splurge by staying in a nice hotel for my last hotel stay in Italy, but it still wasn’t too bad because I was able to book the Single Traveler room, which was considerably smaller than other rooms and didn’t have a view, but was perfect for me. The pool and garden of the Relais Santa Chiara was positioned on the hillside overlooking miles and miles of vineyards, a beautiful and relaxing sight. I spent a little over an hour swimming and reading poolside before showering off and venturing into town as the sun started to go down and the temperature dropped considerably with it.

I fueled my walk around town with some gelato from an amazing little shop along the main square. Although only in San Gimiginao for 24 hours, I visited the gelato shop 3x, it was that good, and also, it was that HOT outside! Most places were closing down for the night, because San Gimiginao is a common day trip from more popular cities like Pisa or Florence. The town itself is tiny, and can easily be covered by foot in about 20 minutes. After walking around for a bit, I exited the city walls and enjoyed some pasta in a small cafĂ©. Prices for almost everything dropped considerably simply by walking a quarter of a mile away from the city walls and main tourist area. While I ate, the city began to light up, creating a beautiful night skyline. After eating, I returned to my hotel for some much needed R & R! The next day was jam packed with everything to do in the city with my “au pair in crime”, Shirin, so it’s a good thing I went to bed early.

 

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