2 10 Exp TU’SCANY AREA BY AREA Exploring San Gimignano The “city of beautiful towers” is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Tuscany. Its stunning skyline bristles with tall towers dating from the 13th century: 14 of the original 76 have survived. These windowless towers were built to serve both as private fortresses and symbols of their owners’ wealth. In the Piazza della Cisterna, ringed by a jumble of unspoilt 13thand 14th-century palazzi, is a wellhead built in 1237. Shops, galleries and jewellers line the two main streets, Via San Matteo and Via San Giovanni, which still retain their medieval feel. Fresco in Sant’Agostino San Gimignano’s skyline, almost unchanged since the Middle Ages © Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta Piazza del Duomo, J (0577) 94 03 40. Closed until further notice. The Palazzo Vecchio del Podesta (the old mayor’s palace) is in a group of public buildings clustered around the central Piazza del Duomo. It has a vaulted loggia and the 51-m (166-ft) Torre della Rognosa, one of the oldest towers in San Gimignano.