We had a looong weekend off from class because of il Palio. There were four of us eager to beat the tourist mobs infiltrating Siena the day before the Palio.
Why not hop on a bus to nearby San Gimignano for a breather?
San Gimignano had a very similar medieval aura to Siena, though the roads were flatter and there were many more ancient stone towers.
We popped into a contemporary art and sculpture museum that supported established and up-and-coming Italian artists.
Hmm, where could this door lead to?
Food Novelties in San Gimignano - Colorful Pasti, Tic-tacs, and Spiked Gelati
San Gimignano is packed with gourmet shops of every kind (not that everywhere else in Italy is deficient in this aspect). I took note of one here in particular, because there were shelves lined with pasta in every color and shape. Imagine cooking and eating these. A whole other dimension to the taste!
How come the US doesn’t carry these?
My favorite store of choice would the tiny gelateria owned by Dondoli, a self-proclaimed gelato world champ. I could see the why there would be such major jostling over counter-space the minute I walked in. I thought to myself – Okay, the art of gelato just got serious. Blinking at me on an overhead neon screen were probably the most creative gelato flavors I have seen thus far in Italy (and trust me, by then, I have been to quite a many gelaterias). My eyes were pulled to another neon screen beside it – do I see wine flavored gelati?
I ordered a double flavored medium cup of Vernaccia (since San Gimignano was known for this wine type) and Pink Grapefruit Sparkling Wine.
I later went back for seconds and added another flavor – eggnog vinsato (which translates into holy wine, according to my food dictionary).
I wasn’t the only one who went back for seconds. Amey went back for a triple.
After some more poking around in the area, we were ready to take a lunch break. We ducked into this inconspicuous medieval eatery to test our taste buds. I ordered a dish with the most savory salami. Every bite was an explosion of flavor. My friends got even more daring… They ordered wild boar and hare (smart choices, as the two were what San Gimignano is known for).
We could have checked out the torture museums afterwards, but we decided to explore a wine museum. It was a very informative little stop, as we learned more about the history of San Gimignano’s wine – from processing to packaging. It got Jen and I thinking about lugging some bottles of wine back to the U.S.!
The view from wayyy up.