Stepping off the bus, the breeze blowing through our hair and the sun cascading over our welcoming faces, we started the short hike to the top of the hill that housed the medieval walled town of San Gimignano. We paused for a brief moment at the top to get pictures of the breathtaking view of the countryside and then it was on through the Porta San Jacopo.
Our little group was taken all throughout the little town as we were taught about the history and architecture. One stop along the way was at the well in the middle of the Piazza della Cisterna. As our tour guide invited our gaze to the inside edge of the stone well, our eyes (and later, our fingers) met the irregular, smooth grooves that ran along the entire edge.
Our guide explained to us that those trenches in the stone had been made by rope. Just rope. We were informed that when the well was active, the women and children in the area would bring their buckets to be filled with water. It was through many, many years of heavy buckets of water being hoisted up to the sunlit surface, that the pliable rope made it’s mark in the unforgiving stone.
After seeing the town’s beautiful architecture, and visiting many churches, we ended out tour at Torre Grossa by climbing all the way to the top. It is the tallest structure in San Gimignano (by law), so there was nothing to obstruct our view. It also seemed fitting that since we started the tour with a stunning view, that we end it on the same note.
Now, even though our guided tour was over at that point, there was still more to do. However, before anything else could be tackled, our grumbling bellies needed to be fed. We all spilt off into smaller groups to eat a quick lunch, which for everyone took longer than expected. There was sadly no time for anything else after, besides a quick (and delicious) stop at Gelateria Dondoli (Gelato World Champion of 2006/2007-2008-2009).
We were so lucky to have the sun on our backs the entire time, even if it was a bit chilly for Florentine standards. This trip was something I hope to never forget, along with the people that made it so enjoyable.