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Imagine calling one of San Gimignano’s signature medieval towers your home. Being part of this picturesque setting includes gallivanting around town personally testing each restaurant, café, boutique and outdoor market. Previous guests of Zafferano profess to having the time of their life in this extraordinary townhouse.
From the enormous picture windows and a furnished rooftop terrace, overlook an endless tableau of lush rolling country all the way to the Chianti hills. Several arched windows peer out over the famous Piazza della Cisterna - many of the scenes for the movie Tea with Mussolini were filmed here.
A thorough and professional restoration artfully crafted the immense open spaces of this medieval tower and opened them to the equally incredible vistas outside. The original bricks and stones from 800 years ago now frame modern and comfortable furnishings. Spread across three levels with a bedroom on each and having several large rooms, Zafferano is abundantly spacious for three couples. There is air conditioning in all bedrooms, the main living room and the study with a generous amount of usage included in the price.
To enjoy this exclusive retreat, guests must be ready to tackle the 75 steps leading from the street entry to the rooftop terrace. A luggage porter service is provided as a courtesy for one trip on the arrival day and one trip on departure day. Guests are asked to select their bedroom by floor location prior to arriving. This allows the porter to deliver bags to the appropriate bedroom.
Children under the age of 12 are not allowed. Cleaning service and a cooking class may be arranged when booking.
As San Gimignano's historic center is a restricted traffic zone, guests are met at the town entrance. The English-speaking keyholder assists with dropping off luggage and then leads the way to a parking garage, a few minutes walk outside the town walls. A covered garage parking space for one mid size car is included in the price.
On Thursday, early risers are rewarded with a bounty of bargains when the town's weekly outdoor market takes place in the main square just outside your door.
San Gimignano has the distinction of being equidistant from Florence, Siena and the Chianti countryside, all are reached in an easy 35 minute drive. Train stations with frequent service to Florence are found in either Poggibonsi or Certaldo, both are 15 minutes away. Volterra, another hill town known for the artistry of translucent alabaster or Colle Val d'Elsa, famous for its crystal are reached in 20 minutes; Pisa or Montecatini Terme: 60; Lucca, Arezzo or Cécina (sandy beaches along the Tuscan coast): 80; Cortona or Montepulciano: 90; Assisi or La Spezia: 2 hours.
- Overcrowding in the 13th century led to building restrictions limiting expansion in affluent San Gimignano. Feuding nobles were forced to build vertically to show up their neighbors. In 1278, some 72 towers dominated the hill town's impressive skyline. After the plague decimated Europe's population in 1348, a centuries long recession left most of the towers in a state of ruin. Some families saved part of their towers by cutting them down to a more manageable size, as was done to Zafferano.
- A collection of unique Etruscan artifacts dating back thousands of years adorn wall niches in several rooms. This art along with the title of Marquis were bestowed to an ancestor of the present owners by King Carlo III for rediscovering parts of ancient Herculaneum in the 1800s.
Second level: Main living room with ornamental fireplace, TV and steps up to the furnished, panoramic rooftop terrace. Dining room with ornamental fireplace. Second living room with CD player. Eat-in kitchen with six burner stove top, oven, microwave, fridge and dishwasher. One bedroom with a queen size bed and en suite bathroom with tub and shower. Half bath.
Third level: Loft bedroom with a queen size bed. Study with minifridge and scattered steps leading to a bathroom with shower. Door to the rooftop terrace. Each bathroom has a hairdryer.