The Luxury Travel Bible pondered over one too many teeny glasses of Chianti before succumbing to the well-trammelled charm of this Tuscan gem. Hic...there it slips, into our top ten. Often referred to as the Medieval Manhattan of Tuscany, we've decided the reference has little to do with the towers that stretch like city skyscrapers above the town (they once numbered 72). Instead, we suspect San Gimignano, rather like New York, smugly knows how easily it seduces hapless tourists. Long cosseted as a symbol of power (all those towers!) it has managed to preserve an inordinate number of religious buildings and museums that date back to the Etruscans. The bishop it was named after might have been credited with saving it from the barbarian hordes in the 10th century, but little saves it now from the high season onslaught of tourist buses. San Gimignano only has around 7,000 actual inhabitants - hard to believe in summer. Some of the big festivals such as the Medieval Harvest Festival with its knights on horseback style entertainment are held during this time. Go for others with performances of poetry, ballet, theatre and classical music held between September and April. But do allow TLTB a little tourist moment when it whispers Piazza della Cisterna. En-squared by buildings whose architecture travels you through San Gimignano's history, we do enjoy a sunset tipple under a ristorante awning.,.just one more teeny weeny glass of Chianti.
A trip down to The Porta delle Fonti to see the Romanesque arches of 14th century wash houses and for an appreciation of Senoras past.