I had always wanted to visit San Gimignano in Tuscany. Known as “Medieval Manhattan” and “The City of the Beautiful Towers”, it had been on my list of places to visit for a long time. Now finally I was heading through the Tuscan countryside waiting with bated breath to see the towers appear on the horizon. I had been warned that driving in the narrow streets of San Gimignano was not an experience for the fainthearted so I parked outside the walls and walked into the centre to find my hotel. Apart from looking forward to exploring its narrow, medieval streets I had another good reason to be visiting San Gimignano: I was meeting up with my friend Christine. Her husband, Maurizio, is a sculptor and she had promised to show me his work, which is dotted all around the town.
Originally an Etruscan village, San Gimignano was named after the Bishop of Modena, who, it is said, saved it from Attila the Hun. It became a comune in 1199 and prospered because of its location on the Via Francigena, the pilgrimage path that leads from Canterbury to Rome.