Day seventy: Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

As it was a comparatively short day in terms of kilometres, we felt no urgency to head out at first light – unlike some of our fellow hostel dwellers. We even found a hotel enroute that served us a mid-morning coffee, and while the waiter was very much a clone of Manuel from Fawlty Towers, he pointed out that if he was walking, he’d take the short cut. Which we duly did.

We arrived in San Gimignano in time to check into the Ostello run by the Monastery of San Girolamo, which meant we could explore the town without needing to lug around our backpacks. This was just as well, as there are so many tourists in SG that wearing a backpack would really restrict your movements. We found a restaurant in a back laneway for a really good pizza, took in a free concert by the Meibion Talgarth Mens Choir from Wales held in the Church of Saint Augustine, then retired to our digs for a snooze and to wait until the day trippers had left. In the evening we did the token tourist thing by going up the tallest of the 13 towers in the town, the Torre Grosse. At one point in the middle ages there were 72 such towers, built by the nobles as a kind of one-upmanship. When the black death hit the city, the trade routes by-passed it, which in a way helped preserve the city as a kind of time capsule.

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