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Striking medieval towers jut high into the sky over the Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano. They have captured the imagination of travelers for centuries.
Why the towers
San Gimignano residents built them as living quarters, defensive structures, and symbols of wealth (the message was "the higher the tower, the richer our family")
There were once 72 of these structures. Today, 14 remain. The tallest sprouts up 52 meters (172 feet).
San Gimignano is more
than its soaring pinacles
Be sure to explore the town's walls and gates - and its narrow side streets. There are also museums, including one displaying torture machines.
Several million tourists visit San Gimignano each year. Nearly all come as day-trippers from May to September. They tightly blanket the streets.
How to avoid
View this wonder early in the morning and late in the afternoon to miss the tour bus crowds. Or come during the cooler months.
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