Siena

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After our morning in San Gimignano, it was off to spend the afternoon in Siena! Siena, was also an important city in this area of Italy that was eventually conquered by the Florentines, but unlike San Gimignano, Siena remained a center of banking, thus it has always been a somewhat important part of the region, even if there were times when the money ran out in Siena, which is why you’ll find a piazza that appears to lead nowhere from the Cathedral. They didn’t finish building the cathedral they had planned. Still, even if it isn’t the largest Doumo in the world, as they had planned, it’s still very impressive.

The Siena Cathedral or Duomo

Duomo Read More

San Gimignano

posted in: Travel 6

After our long day in Rome, we had another long day of touring, but this time we were in port at Livorno, and busing off to Tuscany. We chose a two-part tour, where we would spend the morning in San Gimignano, and the afternoon in Siena.

San Gimignano is an interesting place to visit, mostly because of what it wasn’t. During Medieval times and up into the 14th century, it was a stop on the way to the Vatican. It was well known for it’s medieval towers, which were built as a way for the wealthy family to flaunt their wealth. The higher the tower, the more wealth, and of course, the more you could see other families who might be trying to attack you. Eventually it got so out of control that the rulers of the city finally set a rule that no one could have a tower higher than the one at the Palazzo Communale,  the community building. That situation remained in effect basically until the plague came to town, and the rest of Europe, at which point the city fell under the rule of Florence and lost any of it’s importance. In fact, it didn’t really have any strategic importance at all after that. Thus, the city is a great example of a walled medieval city, which still has over a dozen towers viewable from quite a ways away, because no one ever tried to conquer it, or rebuild it. It still has over a dozen of the medieval towers, and the city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Towers of San Gimignano form a skyline Read More