This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘San Gimignano’

Video: View from Torre Grossa, San Gimignano

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 17, 2013


 
I didn’t have the time to take a photographic panorama of the view from the top of the tower, so you’ll have to make do with a video instead.

So that’s it! This is the last posting for our Italian vacation. It only took eight months to get them on-line. ūüôā

I’ve created a Photography page and will gradually move my photography-related blog postings there. In the meantime, the Italy section is up to date. Eventually I plan to add the Jerusalem and Tel Aviv postings.

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Torre Grossa, San Gimignano

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 17, 2013

San Gimignano

The Torre Grossa is the tallest surviving tower of San Gimignano. There is no elevator, so you have to climb all 54 meters on foot. The inside of the tower has been reinforced with a steel staircase winding around the interior.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

The view at the top makes it all worth while….

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

I noticed a sculpture of a naked man on top of a nearby tower.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

The Piazza della Cisterna has a beautiful old well. The first photo (above) was taken through the arch of the well.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

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Palazzo Comunale, San Gimignano

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 14, 2013

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

The Palazzo Comunale (“Municipal Palace”) is the town hall of San Gimignano and has been so since 1300.¬†Photography is not permitted, so these photos were taken very quickly.

The photo above, in the “Dante Room” (Dante visited San Gimignano in 1300 as ambassador from the republic of Florence) is decorated with a painting by¬†Lippo Memmi, the “Maesta” (“majesty,” a depiction of the Mary and Jesus enthroned, surrounded by the heavenly court and angels).

The Podestà apartments (Camera del Podestà) are decorated with frescoes by Memmo di Filippuccio, depicting married life.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

I photographed the masonry under the stairs leading up to the Torre Grossa.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

The entrance of the palazzo:

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

Looking down into the courtyard.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

The courtyard frescoes depict the coats of arms of families who have held public office. The Palazzo is still a seat of government, but the current offices are on the same level as this courtyard. I wish I could have spent more time photographing this beautiful courtyard but we were in a rush.

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

San Gimignano, Torre Grossa

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San Gimignano 1300: Medieval Tuscany in Miniature

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 14, 2013

San Gimignano 1300

One of the joys of travel is serendipitous experiences, like San Gimignano 1300. Our visit to San Gimignano was unplanned. I had heard that it was worth a visit, so we hopped on a bus from Poggibonsi. Baruch discovered this museum while wandering down some alleys. He disappeared for a while, then came back at a run and said, “You have to see this!” We were the only ones in the museum, so the woman showed us around and let me take all the photos I wanted. It is off the regular tourist path.

San Gimignano 1300 is a project to recreate San Gimignano as it was in its glory, with over 70 towers along the skyline, using models and dioramas. The artists, Michelangelo and Raphael Rubino (brothers from an artistic family, began the project in 2006. The recreation was painstakingly researched. ¬†A team of artists took nearly three years to complete the project. The project is currently closed for renovations (from November 2012 to “spring” in 2013, whenever that may be; the site didn’t give a date).

The entrance hall contains dioramas and ceramic models of life in 1300:

San Gimignano 1300

San Gimignano 1300

The detail of the models is breath-taking. I was lucky to be able to get these shots through the glass.

San Gimignano 1300

San Gimignano 1300

Have you ever wondered how people could live in those towers? Well, these reconstructions show how it was done. The rooms were probably quite dark and you would have done a lot of climbing by ladder to get from one floor to another.

San Gimignano 1300

San Gimignano 1300

San Gimignano 1300

The jewel of the museum is this model of San Gimignano as it was in 1300, with a sound and light show:

San Gimignano 1300

San Gimignano 1300

The lights dim to represent night:

San Gimignano 1300

Or storms:

San Gimignano 1300

If you happen to be passing through the town, this museum is worth a visit, especially if you have children (they have some kind of treasure hunt). Just make sure that it’s not closed for renovations.

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San Gimignano Snapshots

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 7, 2013

San Gimignano

More bits of San Gimignano that caught my eye during our brief visit.

If the window fastener of your medieval stone tower breaks, you can’t replace it with a stainless steel latch from the local hardware store:

San Gimignano

Zoomorphic shutter fastener. The head flips up to keep the shutters from blowing in the wind. You flip it down to close the shutters. (I only know how to work them from staying in hotels with far more prosaic shutter latches.)

San Gimignano

I love the combination of old stone and colourful flowers. The road slopes quite steeply.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Wolf carving and inscription near St. Matthew’s Gate:

San Gimignano

Drinking fountain outside the wall.

San Gimignano

Stuffed boars are very popular window displays in San Gimignano, usually in stores selling pasta and wine:

San Gimignano

Sometimes it’s hard to find a really good sword shop. Personally I think a Swiss Army knife is more practical.

San Gimignano

Paint bucket drummer outside St. Matthew’s Gate.

San Gimignano

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San Gimignano: “Manhattan of Tuscany”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on February 6, 2013

San Gimignano

Can you handle more Tuscan cuteness? San Gimignano is called the “Manhattan of Tuscany” after its remarkably well-preserved towers. Fifteen towers are still standing, but in the 13th century there were over 70 towers. I had never heard of San Gimignano until dinner on the previous Shabbat, when I overheard the Italian man next to me tell a tourist that she must see San Gimignano.

San Gimignano is too small to have a train station. We went there by bus (boarded the Siena bus at the SITA station by Maria Novella train station and switched to the San Gimignano bus in Poggibonsi)  and spent a couple hours wandering around. (The blog postings are a out of order; we went to San Gimignano before Siena).

I took these photos outside the city walls.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

The bus stopped near St. Matthew’s Gate. This gate was once part of the independent town of St. Matthew, which later became part of San Gimignano.

San Gimignano

Close-up of the gate.

San Gimignano

This is the other side of the St Matthew gate. There are lots of tourists but they tend to be mainly on the main thoroughfares. The side streets are much less crowded.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Bored shopkeeper in souvenir store. Some of the store owners don’t like people photographing their shops, so I tend to photograph stores with the camera on my hip.

San Gimignano

Pasta. The ubiquitous phallic pasta is second on the left.

San Gimignano

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