Nestled in the heart of Tuscany, Italy, lies the enchanting medieval town of San Gimignano. Dubbed as the “Town of Fine Towers,” this UNESCO World Heritage site offers visitors an extraordinary glimpse into the past with its well-preserved architecture and rich history. As you wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be transported back in time to a period when merchant families vied for power and wealth, leaving behind a legacy of soaring towers that still dominate the skyline today. Join us on a journey as we explore a day in San Gimignano – from savouring delectable local cuisine to immersing ourselves in the vibrant cultural scene – uncovering why this small Italian gem is truly worth experiencing firsthand.
It is only a small town so in reality, it won’t take you that long to explore. The centre of San Gimignano, the stunning historical centre, is only small 1/2 km wide and around 1 km long. But don’t just stick to the centre, the best fun in exploring San Gimignano is to get lost in the small side streets.
Our guide on how to spend a day in San Gimignano will give you tips on San Gimignano’s ‘must-see’ attractions, how to travel from Florence by public transport and some great tips to enjoy a perfect day in San Gimignano and of course where the best views of San Gimignano can be had.
So put on your walking shoes, get your bottle of water, pop on a hat and join with us as we show you the San Gimignano sights.
If this is your first time to Italy or you are returning you will need to plan a trip to Italy in advance especially if it is in the peak of summer. By booking in advance your land transport and your hotel accommodation, you can be assured of a memorable vacation, leaving your bookings to the last minute may cause some stress and the accommodation that you had your heart set on will be booked out. Believe me, we have been there and we don’t want you to experience the same.
Looking for that amazing accommodation in Tuscany if you plan to spend a week or two? Have you considered staying in villas in Tuscany with private pools? Plan an amazing getaway with family or friends for that memorable vacation.
Sitting in local plazas eating a yummy gelato or in a sidewalk cafe sipping a glass of Tuscan wine is for us a perfect day in San Gimignano, Italy. Such a charismatic town but of course in high season it can be busy with tourists, we say ‘still go’ and experience all that San Gimignano has to offer.
You can cover all Florence’s major sites in this 2 day Florence itinerary for you to enjoy before or after visiting San Gimignano.
Tour San Gimignano, Pisa and Siena from Florence on a Day Trip with Lunch
- Marvel at UNESCO World Heritage Sites like the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Visit a splendid Chianti wine estate and savour a typical local lunch
- Take part in an exclusive wine tasting on the estate’s panoramic terrace
- Admire the stunning skyline in the well-preserved medieval town of San Gimignano
- Explore Siena and visit Piazza del Campo, the site of the Palio horse race event
San Gimignano is located in North Central Italy in the province of Siena in Tuscany. The distance from Florence to San Gimignano is only 72km away which makes it a perfect day trip. San Gimignano is a well-preserved medieval walled town with its famous towers 14 of those original 72 still standing.
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During the middle ages, San Gimignano was a stopover on the way from Florence or Siena by pilgrims on their way to Rome.
How To Get the Bus from Florence to San Gimignano
It is easy to take a day trip from Florence to San Gimignano by local bus from Florence (Firenze).
The bus station for San Gimignano is located by the side of Santa Maria Novela train station, Via Santa Caterina da Siena 15, Florence.
Take bus # 130 and the cost is Euros 9 per person each way. It is easy to catch the bus from the Florence Bus Station but you will need to change at Poggibonsi, the wait there is between 10-20 minutes. The return from San Gimignano to Florence is the same route via Poggibonsi.
What to See and Do in San Gimignano
San Gimignano Towers
The Big Tower (Torre Grossa) is the one to climb in San Gimignano for the incredible views over the Tuscan hills and villages with their terracotta roofs. A climb to the top of the Big Tower will cost you Euros 9.00 per person. The Tower was built between 1300 and 1311 and the views reach all the way to the mountains of Pistoia and the Apuan Alps. It is a bit of a steep climb, but you can rest along the way, it really is worth it for the views.
The most important and wealthy families in the 14th century built these towers to show off their wealth and power.
Opening Hours of the San Gimignano Towers:
High season (April 1 – September 30):
10:00 – 19:30
*Low season (October 1 – March 31): *
11.00 – 17:30
January 1: 12:30 – 17:30
December 25 (closed)
Entry is allowed up to half an hour before the closing time of the museums
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The Wishing Well at San Gimignano
Situated in one of the most beautiful plazas in San Gimignano, Piazza Della Cisterna is the Wishing Well. It is a great spot to eat gelato from the famous and very busy Gelateria Dondoli, enjoy the sunshine or take a break from climbing the towers.
There is always a queue outside the Gelato shop, but believe us it is definitely worth the wait.
San Gimignano Wines – A Glass or Two of Vernaccia
A glass or two of the famous local wine Vernaccia is enjoyed standing up at the bar. The wine has been said to inspire popes and poets and is produced from the grape of the same name.
If you would like your own private tour of a family-run organic winery, and taste some of their fine wines and fresh Tuscan food click here for more information and the latest deals.
Learn About San Gimignano’s Saffron
San Gimignano was also known for its agricultural products, especially saffron which was used in cooking and in dyeing cloth.
Saffron is a spice made from the flower of the Crocus. In 1228 in San Gimignano saffron was used to pay off the debts from the siege of Castello Della Nera. It is an expensive spice and we wonder if it is because of the time of picking, at dawn only when the flowers are still closed or because 150,000 flowers give only 1kg of spice. We also understand that no chemicals are to be used in the production of saffron.
There is a special tour available in San Gimignano which offers Vernaccia wine tasting and tasting of the saffron used in a local dish at lunch. Click here for more information and the latest deals
Visit the Aqueducts of San Gimignano
If you wander from the centre of San Gimignano down the hill you will eventually come across the Aqueducts. It is a nice walk from there up the cobblestoned path back to the main Plaza.
Tours available in and around San Gimignano:
San Gimignano Hotels
Where should you stay in San Gimignano? It is probably a good idea to book a hotel after you have had a few glasses of the Vernaccia and you are driving.
The top 3 San Gimignano Hotels are:
Hotel Vecchio Asilo (rated 9.8): Via delle Torri, 4, San Gimignano
The accommodation is located in a tower in the town of Ulignano and a 10-minute drive from the centre of San Gimignano. If you are driving parking is free at the hotel.
Latest guest review: “The view is amazing, the location also and the wine testing experience absolutely incredible. The place is so peaceful and the beds super comfortable. It was an amazing Tuscan’s countryside immersion.”
Agritourismo Mormoraia (rated 9.3): La Mormoraia – Sant’ Andrea, San Gimignano
Located in the stunning countryside just 4 km from San Gimignano. You can enjoy a sauna, hot tub and a Turkish bath after a day of wandering around San Gimignano.
Guests can enjoy homemade cakes, bread, ham and cheese at the buffet breakfast. The property produces its own extra virgin olive oil and wine, and tasting sessions can be arranged. The on-site restaurant is open for dinner.
Latest guest review: “Everything, there is honestly nothing I can say we didn’t enjoy of the Mormoraia. The staff were so helpful and pleasant (from the reception to the restaurant staff). The location is amazing and the views you get of the hills are definitely worth it. It was the perfect place to be before we headed back home. Highly recommend Mormoraia and would hopefully be back”
The 11th-century hotel is located in Piazza Della Cisterna – one of the main squares of San Gimignano. In summertime, breakfast is served on the terrace.
Latest guest review: “The location is super central, the hotel is beautifully decorated with art and old furniture, breakfast was plentiful, the room heated with AC, everything super clean. I loved looking out the window to the central piazza, so full of atmosphere.”
For more hotels in San Gimignano
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San Gimignano Restaurants
There are many restaurants and bars around the squares and down the alleyways. Coffee in any of the cafes will cost you from Euros 2 if you are standing up.
Tripadvisor San Gimignano has recommended the following best restaurants in San Gimignano, rated from travellers reviews.
Essential Information for Your Visit to San Gimignano
Getting Into Florence
Cheap Flight Deals to Florence
Find the cheapest flights with Skyscanner our ‘go-to’ for researching and booking our flights.
The closest airports to San Gimignano are Pisa and Florence.
Florence Airport is located 68 km from San Gimignano.
Pisa Airport is located 74 km from San Gimignano.
Car Hire in Europe
When we hire a car in Europe we use AutoEurope. We find they have the best prices and comfortable small automatic cars that are perfect for parking in tight spots throughout Italy. We recommend booking a smaller car than normal. Parking costs can be quite high so check the destination for the latest car parking prices and availability. Click here for the latest deals.
Do you need an International Drivers Licence? You can purchase one online here in minutes.
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
San Gimignano Weather
When is the best time to visit San Gimignano?
The hottest months are from June through to August but we can recommend that you travel in the Spring or Autumn seasons when the weather is more temperate. It can still be busy with tourists!
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In conclusion, spending a day in San Gimignano is truly a remarkable experience. The town’s medieval charm, breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside, and rich historical heritage make it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking an authentic Italian adventure. From exploring the ancient towers and wandering through the narrow streets lined with artisan shops to savouring delicious local cuisine and wine, there is something for everyone in this enchanting hilltop town. Whether you are a history buff, nature lover, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the beauty of Tuscany, San Gimignano offers a unique and unforgettable experience that will leave you longing to return again and again.