I went to San Gimignano without doing much research, and my first thoughts there were that of ‘mm. looks and feels like a mini Siena.’
That, until I met Michelangelo of San Gimignano 1300, owner of a free museum starring a ceramic model of San Gimignano in the Middle Ages. I was paying for my postcard and speaking casually about the museum being great for school groups (sorry, occupational hazard as a teacher), and he told me about the treasure hunt they let students go on.
‘What treasure hunt?’ I asked. ‘Sounds exciting!’
So, you get a map and an information booklet, and off you go on a search-and-match mission for the surviving 700 year old buildings. I’m sure it gets fun for students when you add in the competitive plus time element! (or perhaps I’m just a geek like that huh – my students like to tell me that my sense of fun is warped.)
I was really thankful for this as the self-guided hunt opened my eyes to the details – Gothic or Romanesque arch? Moorish influence? Any embellishments? Brick or stone? What might have been just another drab sight-seeing stroll became an educational and engaging experience.
A very worthwhile €8 spent. You know, Michelangelo was really sweet about it – he didn’t have sufficient change for my €50, and he gave me the map for free, telling me to have fun and tell my friends about it. I couldn’t accept that, not when this town is solely dependent on tourist money, so I went back after my walk and a good lunch.
More on the museum proper soon!