Exploring the Tuscan Town of San Gimignano, Italy

Exploring the Tuscan Town of San Gimignano, Italy

Tuscany is famous for its stunning art and culture, beautiful landscape, delicious food and some of the best Italian wine regions. It is also known for its historic walled towns, and one such town is San Gimignano. A medieval town, around an hour each from Florence and Siena, San Gimignano is a wonderful day trip option in Tuscany and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How to spend a day in San Gimignano

When you approach San Gimignano (pronounced: san jee mee Nyah noh), the first thing that will catch your eye are tall towers jutting into the sky. San Gimignano was like the Manhattan of the Medieval Times; its tall towers created a skyline that was unmatched during that era. The resident noble and merchant families built these towers to show off how wealthy they were and some of these towers are still standing today.

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

Getting there:

By car:

From Florence, take the motorway towards Siena, exit at Poggibonsi and follow signs to San Gimignano.
From Siena, take the motorway towards Florence, exit at Poggibonsi and follow signs to San Gimignano. You will need to park outside the city walls.

By bus:

From Florence, take bus 131 from Busitalia SITA Nord Autostazione. You will need to change at Poggibonsi and get on bus 130 or 133 towards San Gimignano.
From Siena, take bus 130 from P.Za Gramsci to San Gimignano via Poggibonsi.

Things to do:

The beauty of San Gimignano is that there is no specific checklist to follow. As you enter the walled town through the gate at Via S. Giovanni, you will be transported into a sepia-toned world of rustic Tuscan charm. Browse the various shops that line the cobbled main streets and buy yourself a souvenir.

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

Move away from the main streets and get lost in the side alleys. Not only will you get glimpses of authenticity minus the tourist crowds but also have amazing photo opportunities (for Instagram, you know 😉 ).

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

Climb Torre Gross, for a chance to be on top of the tallest and the only tower that is open to the public. You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the rolling Tuscan countryside.

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

Perched on a hill, one can expect amazing views from San Gimignano, complete with the perfectly lined vineyards and rows of tall Tuscan Cypress trees that form such a classic landscape of Tuscany.

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

And of course, eat a gelato! Now this one is obvious, isn’t it? It would be a crime to not eat a gelato in San Gimignano. Head straight to the Gelatria Dondoli in Piazza della Cisterna for the best gelato in town.

A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

San Gimignano may be a very touristy place but its brimming with charm and well worth a visit as a day trip from Siena or Florence. I would highly recommend spending a day in San Gimignano and exploring this medieval Italian gem. Also, don’t forget to read my post on a walking tour of Florence.

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A day in San Gimignano | What to do in San Gimignano | Tuscany | Italy | Day trip from Siena | Day trip from Florence | Read more on www.ayewanderful.com

Have you been to San Gimignano? What are your favourite places to visit in Tuscany?

Cheers,
Ameeta xx

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21 Comments

  1. Sara White
    August 26, 2017 / 11:47 am

    Okay, I’m totally kicking myself now – I was in Tuscany earlier this month, pretty close to San Gimignano, and I ended up deciding not to go see it because I’d heard time and time again how touristy it was. The thing is, all the towns in Tuscany are pretty touristy, but they’re all also really beautiful, and I think I actually would have really enjoyed seeing all those towers. The view from the tower is spectacular! Oh well. Next time I’m in the area I’ll have to make sure I stop by for a visit.

    (PS: What time of the year were you there? This year, in August, Tuscany was particularly dry and generally brown/golden-hued – looks much more green for you, or maybe it’s just the surroundings being particularly lush there?)

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 8:33 am

      You are right Sara, most of the places in Italy are very popular with tourists and it kind of puts us off. But we still decided to visit San Gimignano mainly because it was such an easy day trip option, easily doable by public transport. I think why I found it very charming was the fact that we moved away from the main Street and square and explored the back alleys which were pretty much empty and also at the end were these fabulous views. And you are also right that these photos are not from recent travels, we visited in October (2nd week). The stone buildings were definitely brown-hued but we did manage to see lush green vineyards 🙂

  2. August 26, 2017 / 2:39 pm

    What a stunning place! I wish to visit Tuscany so much, I hope finally next year! I will make sure to visit also San Gimignano 🙂

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 9:18 am

      Ah nice, I would love to hear your thoughts when you visit San Gimignano 🙂

  3. August 26, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    It looks like a fairytale and your photos are stunning! SG is one of the towns I wasn’t able to visit when I was in Italy….and now I really, really want to go back and see it! Did you visit Lucca as well? I ended up staying there for a week and completely fell in love with it. Happy travels!

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 9:20 am

      No, I did not visit Lucca which I really want to. Also, Cinque Terre!! There’s just so many Italian places I want to visit 😀

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 9:21 am

      Nice, if you have any recommendations do let me know 🙂 Would love to know some off-the-beaten-path places.

  4. August 27, 2017 / 5:23 am

    This town looks so charming! I haven’t been to this part of Italy, but I’m hoping I can make it there soon. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos and helpful info!

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 9:22 am

      It is very charming, no doubt. Where else have you been in Italy? Any recommendations?

  5. August 27, 2017 / 6:10 am

    Ohhhh it looks stunning! Def adding this into my itinerary for my italy trip next year!

    • ayewanderful
      August 27, 2017 / 9:23 am

      The problem with making an itinerary for Italy is that there are just SO many nice places, isn’t it? 🙂 Where else are you going?

  6. August 27, 2017 / 10:13 am

    Gorgeous photos. Love hearing about new places like this. I’ve never been to Tuscany but it looks like a beautiful & quiet region in Italy. San Gimignano seems to be still lesser-known and offbeat, which makes it even more appealing. If I plan a trip to Tuscany, as I am a history geek, I would probably devour this medieval town 🙂

    • ayewanderful
      September 3, 2017 / 7:44 am

      Actually, it is far from lesser-known and is generally thronged with tourists. But as soon as you leave the main streets and piazzas, and explore the back alleys you see the real Italian beauty. If you are history geek, I think you will love San Gimignano 🙂

  7. August 27, 2017 / 10:49 am

    I love San Gimignano. It is such a beautiful town. Great posts and brings back memories.

  8. August 27, 2017 / 11:08 am

    Beautiful photos! I love the Super Tuscan and Chianti Classico wines from the region so will save this for reference!

    • ayewanderful
      September 3, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Thanks, the Chianti wines are definitely good. Although I really wanted to and didn’t have the time to tour the Chianti vineyards, we did tour the Montelpuciano region.

  9. August 27, 2017 / 1:10 pm

    Love this! Tuscany is SO near to our hearts, but we’ve never been to San Gimignano. However, I think we are going to try to stay in the countryside next time we visit, so hopefully we will get to explore many towns just like this.

    • ayewanderful
      September 3, 2017 / 7:49 am

      I am sure there would be so many more lovely places in Tuscany and would love to go back again. I am also quite interested in the concept of Agriturismo.

  10. September 2, 2017 / 2:00 pm

    Hi. We were in San Gimignano a couple of years ago, while on our honeymoon. It was our favourite town in Tuscany. We enjoyed people watching in the piazzas, browsing the shops, eating gelato and dining. All things you mentioned in the article. A very walkable old town. We said at the time we would love to retire there, and we still would. However the cost-of-living is about the same as back home in Canada. We need to stretch our retirement savings a little. So it is the sunny south of Spain for us.

    • ayewanderful
      September 3, 2017 / 7:52 am

      San Gimignano is such a popular town, always bustling with tourists that the prices are probably quite high. I know Spain is usually the choice of retirement for British expats too. Weather, food, beaches, history and culture – Spain has a lot going for it.