Philipp Zur­möhle on San Gimignano.

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“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.”

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