1 EAGLETON NOTES: San Jimmy Banana



Friday, 19 October 2012

San Jimmy Banana

I have absolutely no idea how it happened but when Wendy and Martin (my New Zealand Family), Carol (my wife) and Catherine (a dear friend to us all) went to Italy in 1992 we all fell for San Gimignano and one amongst us christened the place San Jimmy Banana.  For us that has been its name ever since.  It was probably the most commercially aware of the tourist towns of Tuscany twenty years ago so although I've been back since then the changes have not been quite so great as, for example, in Volterra.  Having said that one now has to pay to go into the Duomo and no photos are allowed there either.  The queue outside the only public toilet I saw inside the walls  was long (cafés are obliged to let the public use their facilities) but at least the outflow from it was not pouring down the street as it was last time.  All in all it is still a beautiful place with a marvellous history and the fact that all we tourists want to go and see it is testament to that.

Notice on the door of the public toilets at the car park below the city
The Southern Entrance Gate
Just inside the main gate
Handbags everywhere and in every colour, shape and size 
The 'main' street
Looking back towards the main gate
One of the Antony Gormley** statues looks on 
Wild boar are everywhere usually with something stuck in their mouth. 
The main square with yet another Antony Gormley statue
A little potter's studio or rather a potter's little studio
with a splendid trades sign
Yet another Gormley way up high....very high
....that high
Our lunchtime café - superb formagio
The street out to the North 
An absolutely splendid purveyor of goodies
The terrazzo where Wendy and I sat and listened to a musician (and bought his CD) 20 years ago.  It was lunchtime so we had the square to ourselves  (The siesta seems to be a thing of the past in towns like this).   Now the terazzo is fenced off and is the entrance to the Duomo and only available to those who pay.  The inside of this Duomo is completely covered in frescos.
**There are (or were) Antony Gormley statues everywhere.


  1. It seems an odd place to display modern sculpture but as I'm a big public sculpture fan I find it really effective.
    The thought of the toilets overflowing down the street brought back fond memories of agricultural shows in days of yore. They always overflowed by lunch time. Fond memories.
    I've just re read this and thought I'd better say wonderful photographs and a beautiful place.
    I don't want folk thinking I've a urine fixation.

    1. I was rather taken aback by the sculptures in that setting. The figures were the same or similar to the ones on Crosby beach on Merseyside which caused so much controversy but are now a permanent (until they rust away) installation. I think they were due to be removed a the end of September.

      The old agriculture shows. Fond memories.

  2. What a lovely town!! When I went to Italy in 2010, we visited Rome & Venice. We had wanted to go to Tuscany but ran out of money to include that in the itinerary.
    Beautiful shots, Graham!!

    1. I've never been to Rome nor to Venice. I have always stuck to Tuscany and Umbria and even when I visit the same places I always find new things to see and enjoy.

  3. Another set of charming street pictures. I probably wouldn't have been able to resist a closer look at some of those handbags... ;) We had an Anthony Gormley statue here temporarily for one of our sculpture biennals, must have been two years ago. It was placed high up on a roof (not quite as high as that tower, but still) and first time I saw it, it gave me the impression of someone about to jump... Might be good art, but could also give someone down on the ground a heart attack one day...

  4. I enjoyed wandering around with you in this post...very picturesque.
    Like my girl DT above, the handbags caught my eye, and I know for sure I would not have left without at least two of them.
    I'm off to check out Anthony Gormley and his statues...is there a particular`reason why some are placed in such high areas?

    1. Yes, Virginia, you strike me as a handbag gal. I suspect that given Gormley's love of startling people it's just that. Oddly human beings do not naturally look upwards but his statues seem to be placed in such a way that they catch the eye regardless.

  5. It is picturesque, yes. The makers of that sign could have at least asked someone to proof-read the other languages before having it up so full of errors... ah well, that's just me being particular about correct spelling and grammar.

    1. You are correct, Meike, people now seem to have scant regard for grammar and spelling and I think it is part of a general and deteriorating attitude to life.

  6. I really want to go to San Jimmy Banana now.


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