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Decades ago, I visited San Gimignano, one of Tuscany’s most popular hilltop towns. The hotel room opened onto a balcony overlooking the countryside below, carpeted with green fields and vineyards. It was one of the loveliest spots I had ever encountered. Newly divorced and travelling with my mother, I pledged to return one day with a more romantic travel partner. So, when my second husband asked where I would like to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, I had no hesitation suggesting the hotel with a view in San Gimignano. Known as the Medieval Manhattan, San Gimignano had its heyday in the 14th century, when many of the well-preserved buildings that now house hotels, museums and restaurants were constructed. Rival aristocratic families attempted to outdo each other erecting ever taller towers that symbolised their wealth and power; at one time, there were 72. Only 13 of these medieval skyscrapers have survived and they dominate the skyline for kilometres around. At dawn, they ap...

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