San Gimignano, Italy
San Gimignano is a city of towers. Fourteen in total these days (although at one point there were as many as 72!). Built during the fourteenth century, they were status symbols of the various families. Phallic like, it was all about size.
The Italian city of San Gimignano was once one of the richest in the region. Knowing that means the towers make more sense. What better way to show off your wealth than with enormous structures like these.
You first see the towers from afar – they’re high up on a hill and, with the city walls around them, look like an intimidating fortress. You can just imagine envoys of horsemen travelling there from around the region, no need for a map because they can see their destination so well, no need for awe because that will strike them itself.
The city is full of tourists these days. In some ways it’s hard for them to appreciate the true glory of San Gimignano. Partly because you can’t really imagine how it would have been if all 72 towers still existed. But also partly because you lose a sense of scale when you’re actually in the city. Only from the distance, when all is relative, do they really stand out.
Rather than bore you with more words, here, in pictures, is San Gimignano. They include the evidence of a rather risqué installation art project going on in the city at the moment.