Today we got into the car and drove to a walled city called San Gimignano. This town actually started with towers and is known as the "City of Beautiful Towers." The towers were for protection of rich people during medieval times. When attackers came they went into the towers by ladders and pulled them inside and then burnt any wooden stairs. This left no easy entrance for the attackers. Originally there were 72 towers and now there are only 14 remaining. We could see the beautiful towers from over 30 kilometers away.
When we arrived we had to take a elevator to get up and over the wall. From there we entered through one of the historic gates. The streets were very narrow, but there are few cars inside the walls, and we had to squeeze against the buildings if one came through.
There were many street performers. The first one we saw was a flutist that played songs that sounded like lullabies. There were also a few guitarists, but my favorite were two people acting together. One was a puppeteer and the other was a marionette who played a violin. I put a euro in her cup and she blew me a kiss and took a photo with me.
There were so many shops, including two gelato shops. We were actually able to get scoops after our touring. We purchased ours from a Gelateria Dondoli who had entered the Gelato World Cup and won several years in the early 2000's. Today the flavors we tried were mango, lemonade, pear, nutella, chocolate, raspberry, and melon.
Our friends had told us about a mask shop. The masks were hand made from leather. After Alec's reading of a Magic Tree House book Carnival in Candlelight about a carnival in Venice we knew what we wanted for a souvenir. I chose a blue cat mask and Alec choose the King of Carnival. They were made by local artist Arnaldo Doriana, whom we met.
We had lunch at Locanda San Domenico that had a outdoor patio that sat above one of the city's walls and looked out on the vallies around us. We ate under olive trees that was quite peaceful. Alec and I ate tomato pasta. Mom had raviolis and Dad had an animal that lives on the property we are staying...wild boar stew (poor animal). We also had a cheese platter with bread and honey. YUM!
That was one amazing day in San Gimignano.