Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu

Day 330 – San Gimignano


As the days get us closer and closer to the finish line, I thought it would be really nice to share some of my travelling in Italy memories with all of you. I will start with San Gimignano because it’s one of my favorite cities in Tuscany.

Five years ago, when life meant going to work all week and gossiping at a glass of Martini in the evening, we came to the conclusion that the best way to spend our only two days off was to drive around and get to know Tuscany every weekend. We discovered the city of San Gimignano after finding a postcard in my mom’s drawer and lucky enough it was only 10 km away from where we used to leave. Our first visit was a day long and I felt like being in Paradise. I loved everything about the city and after identifying the perfect terrace for having cappuccino, San Gimignano became my retreat every other week. I remember my initial words about the city were: “This is like an awesome medieval prison!” and of course I meant that in the best possible way. 🙂

Another interesting aspect about going there was that I was always winning money at scratch tickets. I used to buy one or two and never lose. It wasn’t an huge amount of money but enough to pay all the drinks, a pack of cigarettes, the gas and maybe be left with a little something too. Pretty good right? Now, here comes the fun part. When I was 7 months pregnant, D’s uncle and aunt came to visit us. When they asked me if I would like to join them for a bus trip to San Gimignano I said yes without any hesitation. I told his uncle the story of the scratch tickets and of course as anyone he was really skeptical and didn’t believe us when we said I never lose in that place. We got there and after sitting at my favorite table in the middle of the square, I went and bought each of us a ticket. When I came back I let them pick out their own and started to scratch the one that was left. I have a ritual. I start with the numbers and never reveal the amount until I see if there are any winning numbers. This way if there is no winning number I won’t be disappointed. As I was scratching each number they all appeared to be winners so you can imagine me starting to fibrillate and having contractions just because of the excitement. Nine out of ten numbers were winners on the ticket and I hadn’t even scratched the amount won yet. D’s poor uncle and aunt started getting worried for me when they saw me getting pale and too excited about this miraculous ticket. We were in the middle of nowhere, without any car, and the closest hospital was let’s say a little too far. So they tried to calm me down and asked me to take a small break. I did and when I finally scratched the amounts written under the numbers, what do you know, all small prizes and the single losing number had half a million euros written under it. I think I was more relieved than happy. Actually to this day I don’t know how to feel about that ticket: either incredibly lucky or incredibly unlucky. Take a look for yourselves.lozul mare

To this day I still manage to rarely go and visit San Gimignano and I still win enough to buy all the drinks and pay for the road, but there is something more about the walls and the streets of the city that keep calling me back to visit. If you have never visited San Gimignano you should definitely include it on your places to see in Tuscany list; and a small tip, although you will see at least 5 torture museums on only one street, this city had nothing to do with torture, but it was a very important trading location

About the author

Ela Vasilescu

I’m a writer based in Florence, Italy.

Human nature inspires me, different cultures, traditions, folk stories and the differences which make us unique. Documenting stories is a privilege, a glimpse into humanity, an unforgettable experience, one which I embrace and honour every day.

If you have a story twitching in the back of your pocket, one that is ready to be told, shared and heard, chances are I will be ready to listen; so don’t hesitate to send me an email.

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Writer In Florence Ela Vasilescu