We can spend hours looking at the old men in this photo. Their facial expressions. Their hand gestures. Their clothes. Their shoes. Every part of them tells a story. If you stare at it long enough, you can write unique fictional attributes of each one of them. If you come back the next day and look at the photo again, the stories for each of them change.
We took the photo in San Gimignano in 2009. It hangs on our office walls as not just a reminder of our first trip to Italy but to let us know there are grace and wisdom in aging.
San Gimignano tells a story that dates back to the Etruscans three centuries before Christ. A shining city on a hill marked by its 14- towers, San Gimignano is a must stop for any tourist. 4-million people a year visit this mid-evil town in North Central Tuscany. Normally packed with people, beauty is found in the hustle and bustle of buses, walking tours, and onlookers.
Like most places in Itlay, specifically Tuscany, the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19 has taken its toll on the economy. But as you find out in this latest podcast. The people of San Gimignano are not sitting back and just crossing their fingers and hoping people return. They are using this time to rediscover themselves. Soul searching, should we say, to connect with its past so when the people do return, they get the authentic experience they want and deserve.
Just like the old men in the photo, the days go by, but the stories we share and pass down over time can live forever. Next time you visit Tuscany, make sure you make a story of your own in San Gimignano.
Travis Justice & Pat Campagna have been traveling to Tuscany since 2009. They produce the Total Tuscany Podcast and all the content on this website.