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.
(Editor updated June 2018)
- 1 Where is San Gimignano
- 2 How To Get from Florence to San Gimignano
- 3 What to See and Do in San Gimignano
- 4 San Gimignano Towers
- 5 The Wishing Well
- 6 San Gimignano Wines – A Glass or Two of Vernaccia
- 7 Learn About San Gimignano’s Saffron
- 8 Visit the Aqueducts
- 9 San Gimignano Hotels
- 10 San Gimignano Restaurants
- 11 San Gimignano Weather
San Gimignano is located in North Central Italy in the province of Siena in Tuscany. Florence 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.
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 from Florence to San Gimignano
It is easy to get 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.
The cost in 2018 is Euros 7 per person each way by local bus. 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 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 (as of 2018). The Tower was built between 1300 and 1311 the views reach all the way to the mountains of Pistoria 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.
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The Wishing Well
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 a 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. We love our Italian Gelato, we have a great recommendation in Milan if you are heading there after your visit to Florence and the Tuscany region.
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, 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 that 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
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
Tenuta Mormoraia (rated 9.3): La Mormoraia – Sant’ Andrea, San Gimignano
Leon Bianco Hotel San Gimignano (rated 9.1): Piazza della Cisterna 13, San Gimignano
San Gimignano Restaurants
There are many restaurants and bars around the squares and down alleyways. A coffee in any of the cafes will cost you from Euros 1.30 if you are standing up.
Tripadvisor San Gimignano has recommended the following best restaurants in San Gimignano, rated from travellers reviews.
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 but still you can experience busloads of tourists.
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For extra reading before you travel here are some of our recommended reading travel guides:
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