Julie Italy 13 Comments

Tuscany, Italy is known for its wine and splendid scenery, and we loved the time we spent here.  The hill towns of Tuscany are small, walled, medieval towns perched on hilltops overlooking the countryside.  Their views are stunning, their streets are a joy to stroll through, and the wine tastings are phenomenal.  We visited several hill towns, and the very popular San Gimignano was one of our favorites.

If you are touring Tuscany and are trying to decide which hill towns to visit, consider San Gimignano! This town is very popular for good reason.

Best Things to do in San Gimignano

The Towers of San Gimignano

San Gimignano is famous for its medieval towers.  In fact, San Gimignano has more medieval towers than any other hill town in Tuscany. Fourteen of these towers are still standing.

We were able to climb the Torre Grossa, also known as the Bell Tower, and the views were some of the best of Italy so far.

Towers of San Gimignano

San Gimignano

Tuscany Italy

Tuscany from San Gimignano


Julie Rivenbark

Wander the Narrow Streets

The views from the tower are awesome but we also really enjoyed walking through the streets. It is mostly a pedestrian only town, with the occasional small car navigating through the narrow streets.

Main Street Gimignano

San Gimigano Street

Visit the Historic Centre of San Gimignano

The Historic Centre of San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Several piazzas, or squares, make up this historic center. From here, you can visit the Duomo, a small museum called San Gimignano 1300, or find a cafe take in the scene.

Looking down on Gimignano

San Gimignano Town Square

San Gimignano Duomo

Explore the Side Streets

If you really want to see San Gimignano, don’t hesitate to explore the side streets. We wandered off the main tourist drag, for a little time away from the larger groups of visitors. From here, we had a gorgeous view of Tuscany and we could take our goofy family photos that we love so much!


Earth Trekkers in Tuscany

Earth Trekkers

Tuscany with Kids

Go Shopping

We wandered into the small shops, did a little shopping, and bought the best salami we have ever eaten.

Shopping in Tuscany

Tuscan Sausage

La Mangiatoia

And finally, it was time for a late lunch.  We ate at La Mangiatoia, a great restaurant that was featured in Bon Appetite Magazine.  We had our best meal in Italy so far, eating chicken and mushrooms, spaghetti with meat sauce, and spaghetti with cinghiale meat sauce.  So good!!

La Mangiatoia


Tim and Kara

Getting Here

San Gimignano is a hill town that is easily connected by bus, although we did not have the best experience with the buses in Italy. Our home base to explore Tuscany was Siena. From Siena, we took the public bus to San Gimignano (about one hour).

In the afternoon, to get back to Siena, the first bus did not arrive, which left us (and a growing crowd of people) waiting an extra 45 minutes for the second bus. On multiple occasions in Italy we were left waiting for buses that failed to show up. So yes, you can get here by bus, but be prepared to put yourself at the mercy of the Italian bus system.

To learn more about getting to San Gimignano from Florence or Siena using public transportation, click here.

If we did it again, we would either rent a car or hire a driver. You can rent a car for the day from Florence or Siena. We rented a car for one day while in Siena to tour the Tuscan Hill towns, visiting Montalcino, Pienza, and Montepulciano. We used Hertz Noleggio Auto located near the train station and had a good experience.

You can also join one of these tours that includes several other hill towns in Tuscany. 


If you have any questions about how to visit San Gimignano, or if you want to share your experience, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Italy

TUSCAN HILL TOWNS: Check out our detailed guides to Montepulciano, Pienza, MontalcinoVolterra, and Cortona. We also have a One Day Siena Itinerary.

FLORENCE: If you are planning your first visit to Florence, don’t miss our guide to the 10 Best Things to Do in Florence. We also have a guide to the best rooftop bars in Florence and the best viewpoints in Florence.

ROME: For a list of the top experiences in Rome, read our article Best Things to Do in Rome. Learn how to put these together in our 2 Day Rome Itinerary, where to eat in our Rome Restaurant Guide, how to visit the Colosseum, and where to stay in our Rome Hotel Guide. And don’t miss our guide to the Best Rooftop Bars in Rome.

VERONA: Verona is a beautiful city in northern Italy. Learn how to spend one perfect day in Verona.

MATERA: Matera is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Italy. Here is a list of the best things to do in Matera.


We have TONS more information about Italy in our Italy Travel Guide, including Rome, Florence, Venice, Tuscany, the Dolomites, the Amalfi Coast, the Cinque Terre, and Puglia.


San Gimignano Italy Travel


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Photo Tour of San Gimignano in Tuscany, Italy

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Comments 13

  1. Avatar for Don Mammoser
    Don Mammoser

    Very well written article. I am a big travel lover and have visited 8 countries till now. However, I have never been to San Gimignano but I am heading there as part of a trip to Umbria in July. Their beautiful photographs have made me more excited about my trip.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
  2. Avatar for Asmae


    I am landing in airport of PISA on Thursday 11 April in the morning, and I would like to set an itinerary for my trip ending Sunday evening ( flying back on Monday early morning).
    I am thinking of hiring a car for the entire trip, would you recommand this?
    From going through your blog posts, I am think roughly of visiting PISA upon arrival, and then head to Florence then somewhere in tuscany/ san gimignano. As i like to combine city sightseeing and nature sightseeing ( hiking) I want to stay in two different places 2 nights each to allow for a balanced trip. what would you recommand, thank you for everything.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      You could take the train from Pisa to Florence and then rent a car (from Florence) for the 2 days you will spend in Tuscany. Spend Thursday in Pisa (sleep in Pisa), take a morning train to Florence and see Florence on Friday (sleep in Florence). Rent a car Saturday morning and spend the next 2 days in Tuscany. You could spend 3 nights in Florence and day trip into Tuscany, or spend 1 night in Florence and 2 nights in San Gimignano or Siena. Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Svjetlana

    hi there,
    Love the info you guys are providing and all the photos!
    I am planning to stay in Florence for 4 days. Would you say that 1 day trip to San Gimignano and 1 day trip to Sienna would be workable?
    I would have to bus it sadly….:(.


    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Yes, those day trips work great from Florence. We took the bus to Siena from Florence and had no issues. It was the bus from San Gimignano back to Siena that we had issues with. This was now several years ago, so hopefully things will be better. But it’s worth it…we really liked San Gimignano, and Siena is one of my favorite cities in Italy. 🙂 Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Ashley
    1. Avatar for Julie Post

      Visiting Siena and San Gimignano in the same day is possible but it will be very rushed. If you have a driver or a car, you can do it. By bus, it’s a different story. Start in the town you want to visit the most. If you love it, stay all day. If you get bored after a few hours (which would be crazy…they’re both wonderful 🙂 ) move on to the next one. We do have a post on how to visit Siena in one day if you are interested. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Ashley
  5. Avatar for maria doud
    maria doud

    I love your blog. I am enjoying the pictures and all the information. I wish my parents would have taken me on a trip like this.

  6. Avatar for Lynn McLain
    Lynn McLain

    Thank you all for sharing your amazing adventure! I would never have been brave enough to take a year off and take the kids out of school, but all four of you will learn and remember so much from this trip, it is so worth it. Your posts and photos — and Tyler’s videos (with some exciting help from Dad, especially on the Appian Way!) — are great. They give all your readers a fine flavor of each place. Thanks so much! Enjoy!

  7. Avatar for Stacey Rubin
    Stacey Rubin

    Love watching this great journey. the pictures are incredible and I feel like I’m with you. It’s so exciting to see where you will be next. Just be safe and enjoy every minute with your kids !!!

  8. Avatar for Margaret

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