After spending the afternoon in Siena, we made our way to San Gimignano for the evening. San Gimingnano was founded in ancient times, legend leads us to believe as early as 63 B.C. Like Siena, San Gimignano is a walled city with paid parking lots just outside the city. There are signs for the four parking lots labeled P1 through P4, here is a guide to the prices and number of spaces in each lot. While the lots were fairly easy to find they were pretty full that evening so some searching was required to find a spot.
After parking we followed a path into the city until we came upon Chiesa Sant’Agostino, or the Church of Saint Augustine. This church houses the oldest fresco painting in San Gimignano. It was painted by the Italian painter Lippo Memmi before 1317 depicting the Virgin and the Child between archangel Michael and Kohn the Baptist.
From there we headed towards the Palazzo Communale, the mediecal municipal palace, right next to the Collegiate Church of San Gimingnano. If we had come earlier in the day we could have climbed the Belltower of San Gimingnano for views of the city but it was closing as we arrived. Our tired legs from climbing towers all over Italy, including two towers earlier that day in Siena were not extremely disappointed. Instead we wandered into the courtyard of the Plazzo Communale, finding a picturesque well surrounded by paintings on the walls of the coats of arms of families who held public office.
From the courtyard we followed signs for a panoramic view leading us down some side streets and through a fairly creepy dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel we came out onto a walkway with gorgeous views of the Tuscan countryside. We stayed a while snapping some photos and absorbing all we could of the views.
After enjoying the view we headed towards the Piazza della Cisterna, a plaza with a large wishing well in the center. That evening it was filled with people enjoying the beautiful weather. We stopped in the famous Gelateria Dondeli for our daily gelato fix. The creator, Sergio Dondeli, is a former gelato world champion (yes, apparently those competitions do exist), here they had a variety of more unusual flavors such as ricotta and blueberries, spicy cream and my new favorite blackberry-lavender. Although the flavors seemed strange, they were definitely delicious!