San Gimignano, as seen from Certaldo Alto.

Anya walks with Gary and Jan up the street in San Gimignano.

Still hurting from being shut out of the shops in Assisi, the ladies in our group informed me that they needed a shopping experience. Of course that wasn’t possible at the cooking school, so the next opportunity was our late afternoon visit to San Gimignano.

Steve, Joyce, Karen and I had been to S.G. while on the SwItaly 1 trip so we were well acquainted with the shopping opportunities that abounded there. They have some good shops! Karen and I wanted to visit the church, which we’d missed last time, but except for a gelato that was about all of the goals we had for this town.

We met our guide, Anya, and she was easily persuaded to let us shop and eat gelato. She walked with us up to the town square and told us the history of the rivalry between the two big gelato shops there. (The loser of the fight advertises itself as the “world’s best ice cream store” since they can’t say “Gelato World Champion.”)

The owner of the gelato shop was out front, playing the grand host, handing out pictures of himself to all of the tourists in line to get his gelato. It really was good!

Unfortunately the church wasn’t open, but Anya told us some good stories about the towers that the city is famous for.

Karen spent quite a bit of time in the ceramics shop, and bought several pieces. It’s a very large and beautiful store, with many of its ceramic pieces hand-painted by the owner. Karen got to meet him and take his picture. I think that others in the group had successful shopping expeditions as well.

A view of Tuscany from San Gimignano.