Philipp Zurmöhle on San Gimignano.
“Tuscany is full of wonderful places, but few can compare to San Gimignano,” says Philipp Zurmöhle, a Portland, Oregon–based illustrator and graphic designer who toured central Italy recently with his wife Karli. Spending several days in a house outside the picturesque medieval hill town gave them plenty of time to admire San Gimignano’s famous tower houses (13 of which survive from its 14th-century heyday, when the place had grown rich on commerce and saffron cultivation), atmospheric piazzas, and all-encircling city walls. “I sketched this view on the terrace of our house one sunny morning. Taking the time to study one’s surroundings is the key to traveling for me. You appreciate the moment and the details way more than you would just snapping a quick photo and moving on. And San Gimignano, dubbed the ‘Manhattan of Tuscany’ because of all those majestic towers, has more than its share of details to admire.”