Avoid Those Small Single
An obvious one is to avoid using all the small plastic containers for shampoo and soaps at the hotels. Instead, bring your own eco-friendly soap and shampoo. This way you dont only avoid plastic waste, but you also avoid chemicals flushed into the ocean. But there are other single-use containers to be aware of too. Many places you buy a coffee or a tea and get the sugar in small portioned packs. Ask if they have a bowl of sugar instead, many places actually do. Where ever you get served portion packs, ask if they have an alternative. Even if they dont, with enough people asking for it they might consider it for the future.
The Towers Of San Gimignano
The towers of San Gimignano are the ultimate landmark and therefore the highlight of this historic city. Since a luxurious life was not yet possible in the Middle Ages, patrician families tried to prove themselves with the height of their towers as status symbols. Today, there are still 15 of the 72 towers inside the old town.
The most important is the Great Tower of San Gimignano. The so-called 54-meter high Torre Grossa can even be climbed and all those who manage the approximately 220 steps are rewarded with one of the best viewpoints in the city. From the top you can enjoy a wonderful view of the green landscape of Tuscany, but also of the beautiful medieval old town.
Where To Eat In San Gimignano
The restaurants in San Gimignano all offer some variation on local Tuscan cuisine. For an authentic local specialty, try a dish with Cinghiale, or wild boar. Delicioso!
La Mandragola – Off a quiet side street, reserve a table outside in the beautiful courtyard.
Caffe’ Giardino – perfect for breakfast or light snacks.
Gelateria Dondoli – Known for their signature flavor, saffron cream, Crema di Santa Fina, and Vernaccia sorbet
Have we convinced you there are enough things to do in San Gimignano to keep you busy for days? We hope so.
Because if there is one place in Italy that deserves more than just a day trip to explore, it has to be San Gimignano!
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Best Things To Do In San Gimignano Italy
San Gimignano is one of my favorite places to visit in Tuscany. I love the history surrounding this place and all the amazing architecture and charm. We came to San Gimignano on the advice of a friend who insisted that its worth our efforts to visit while in Tuscany. He was right, as we enjoyed visiting San Gimignano for a day, coming from Florence. Situated in the Tuscan countryside, San Gimignano dominates the nearby rolling hills. Come along with me as we explore the best things to do in San Gimignano.
We came to San Gimignano after spending one day in Florence. This place is busy in the summer months, with parking a bit hard to come by. However, we found enough parking a bit down the hill which allowed us easy access to St Johns Gate entrance. With our strollers and kids, we were ready to start exploring this medieval jewel. So, come along with me as we explore the best things to do in San Gimignano.
Palazzo Del Ppolo And Torre Grosso
To the left of Santa Maria Assunta is the Palazzo del Pópolo, begun in 1288 and enlarged in 1323. It has been the seat of municipal government since its construction. Its tower, known as the Torre Grossa , is the tallest in town at 54 meters an early ordinance ruled that no other tower could be higher. From the top are views of the town and surrounding countryside as far as the Apuan mountains.
Inside is the Museo Civico , reached through a picturesque courtyard with a well dating to 1361. The most famous room is the Sala di Dante, named for a visit to the town by the poet in 1300 and decorated by a collection of medieval court frescos.
Highlights of the collection of artworks from the 13th to 17th centuries are a 13th-century painted crucifix by Coppo di Marcovaldo, Lippo Memmi’s Madonna Enthroned, two round paintings of the Annunciation by Filippino Lippi, and an altar-piece painted by Pinturicchio in 1511. These three were among the artists who contributed to the renewal of San Gimignano during the Renaissance.
Address: Piazza del Duomo, San Gimignano
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Tuscanys Powerful Towerful San Gimignano
San Gimignano is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town. About 25 miles from both Florence and Siena, it’s the region’s glamour girl: Visually striking and perfectly preserved, it gets all the fawning attention from passing tour buses. But despite its tourist-trap feel, it’s still worth slotting into your Italian itinerary especially if you can sidestep the hordes who descend during the day.
San Gimignano is beloved because of its skyline of medieval towers. Though a unique sight today, pointy skylines were the norm in Tuscany in the Middle Ages, when feuding noble families ran the hill towns . Each family had its own private army that would periodically battle things out from the protection of its respective family towers. While some were built as a refuge against attackers, others were empty, chimney-like structures built only to boost noble egos.
In the 14th century, San Gimignano, like other hill towns, fell under Florence’s control. The Florentines usually asserted their power over the local nobles by ordering them to lop off their towers. But for whatever reason, some of San Gimignano’s original skyline was allowed to remain intact. Today, 14 of its original 72 towers still stand.
Of the 14 towers, visitors are allowed to climb the one at the newer City Hall at 200 feet, the city’s tallest tower. A visit here also includes access to a small museum with festive frescoes that provide a peek at how people dressed, lived, worked, and warred in the 14th century.
Where To Stay In San Gimignano
There are a few places to stay central in San Gimignano, but if you have a car, I would suggest you get out of the village and stay at one of the charming rural farm hotels within the wine yards. Even though you want to leave your car behind to enjoy some local wine in San Gimignano, you can make it a scenic walk through the green countryside from your accommodation. Here are a few suggestions to where to stay in San Gimignano and around.
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Best Places To Stay In Pisa
Hotel Bologna Decorated in a rustic Tuscan style complete with warm colors and a homely atmosphere, staying in this hotel means relaxing in charming traditional surroundings. Rooms here are simple but boast high ceilings and chic wooden shutters that open up onto the buzzing city streets. A low-key but romantic place to stay close to the downtown area of the city, Pisa Centrale train station is less than ten minutes on foot from here the Leaning Tower of Pisa itself is a twenty-minute walk away! Theres also the option to use the Hotel Bolognas free bike hire service.
Hotel Roma Clean and conveniently located, this is a great choice of hotel for budget travelers. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a mere five-minute walk away, but the hotel itself is tucked away along a quiet, picturesque street. This 3-star offering feels like a friendly place to return to after a busy day seeing the city sites. Rooms are safe and secure, with big beds and en-suite bathrooms some rooms have balconies that boast amazing views of the city. Downstairs youll find a large hotel lounge and hotel garden to spend time in.
Taste San Gimignano Wine
I cant stress this strongly enough dont come to San Gimignano without trying the wine! Its one of the main products of the region and has its own distinct taste.
The most famous local varietal is the Vernaccia of San Gimignano, which was the first Italian wine to get a DOCG certification . Its production area falls entirely within the San Gimignano municipality and the wine has to contain at least 85 per cent Vernaccia.
In town, the best place to try it is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience at the Rocca where there are lots of different tasting options, depending on what youre looking for.
You can also try some of the other varietals that are produced in the region. In total, Gimignano has about 60 wineries and they also make some excellent Chianti, for example.
If youve got time, you should also head out into the countryside and visit some of the local wineries to do some tastings at the cellar door and see the rows of vines on the beautiful Tuscan landscape.
In fact, there are quite a few good options for wine tastings that will be organised for you. To get a good quick overview of many of the wines, theres this tasting you can do.
If you dont have a car or dont want to drive, a tour is a great option and there are some good ones here:
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This City Is A Must Stop When Visiting Tuscany
This city is a must stop when visiting Tuscany. We booked a cooking and winery tour at Casa Emma and just didn’t want to leave. We cooked our own pasta , Tiramisu and drank the most wonderful wine you could imagine. San Gimignano is a lovely city with a lot of history our 7 years old son just loved it it is a must to visit!
In Historic San Gimignano:
Hotel La Cisterna
Hotel La Cisterna is centrally located in the heart of town, with romantic rooms and some of the most breathtaking views of the town and towers.
Hotel L’Antico Pozzo
If you want to stay in the historic town, the Hotel L’Antico Pozzo has spacious, affordable and quiet rooms.
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Parking In San Gimignano
There are several parking lots that surround the town, so it shouldn’t be difficult to find parking although in the summer time, they do get a bit full. There there are visitors coming and going continually so be patient and you’ll find a spot!
San Gimignano is very organized with their parking and you can find up to the minute information on availability in each lot by checking with their official link: San Gimignano Parking
Lucca Where To Stay In Tuscany For Families
In the west of Tuscany, halfway between Pisa and Florence sits the old town of Lucca, famous for its city walls which were left mostly untouched by the passing of time. The first part of the wall was actually built by the Romans in the 3rd century, and later in the 16th century, it became this huge landmark that we still see nowadays.
There arent as many tourists here as in the other towns so you will find a lot of calm, family-friendly spots, all located within walking distance. Being a lesser-known destination, you and your family will get more space for your money in the accommodation here and you wont have to worry about the dangers of larger cities.
The mood of this town is really pleasant, theres something about it that will make it hard for you to just stay for a few days. I guess the local people in Lucca make you feel so welcomed that its hard to say no to another night spent here. If you wanna have some family fun then rent a bike in the city and take the bike path around the city walls!
If youve ever been to Venice, this beautiful historic city will definitely remind you of it, and if you havent, what are you waiting for!?
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The Alleys Of The Old Town
The car-free center of San Gimignano is not too big and can therefore be explored comfortably on a city walk. Surrounded by a well-preserved city wall, 5 gates provide access to the old town. The best way to get around the city center is to let yourself drift and explore the pretty alleys just by walking around. Small delicatessen stores with regional delicacies, cozy cafés, wine bars and restaurants invite to take a break. In between you will discover small galleries and also the SanGimignano 1300 Museum is worth a visit.
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More Tuscan Hill Towns: Medieval hilltop towns are among the top-rated tourist attractions in Tuscany and are in fact among the best places to visit in Italy. All within an easy distance of each other are Arezzo, the former Etruscan town of Volterra, and Montepulciano, with its blend of medieval and Renaissance architecture.
Exploring Tuscan Cities: San Gimignano is in the province of Siena, which you can visit with the help of our handy articles, Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Siena and Exploring Siena’s Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta: A Visitor’s Guide. Not far north of Siena is Florence, with its magnificent cathedral and palaces, and to the west of San Gimignano is Pisa, home of the famous Leaning Tower.
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Where To Stay In Pienza
Relais Il Chiostro Di Pienza Set in the tumbledown romance of a former 13th century Franciscan convent, Relais Il Chiostro Di Pienza features rooms done in an old world, classical style, which suits anybody wanting to stay in somewhere that truly feels like its a slice of the past. When its warm, the complimentary breakfast is served on a picturesque terrace, and the restaurant spills out into the beautiful garden grounds this is also the time youll be able to use the outdoor pool.
Best Time To Visit San Gimignano
San Gimignano has a Mediterranean climate with hot summer months from June to August with temperatures up to 30 Degrees Celsius.
The shoulder seasons from April to May and September to October are the most pleasant as temperatures dont get too high or too low which makes it perfect to wander the streets of San Gimignano.
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Where To Stay In Arezzo
Hotel Continentale This 4-star hotel is a great option for those who like to be wowed by a location: theres a bus station just outside, and the Piazza Grande as well as the Piazza di SantAgostino plus Arezzo Cathedral are all in easy walking distance. Back at the hotel the decor is all elegance and vibrancy, with a color-popping lobby and suites that give guests a taste of luxury, including their own terraces, access to the rooftop, and the great city views you can get from up there. The breakfast is complimentary here, which makes for a good start to a day of exploring the city.
San Gimignano For A Countryside Experience In Tuscany
Another beautiful hilltown situated just 50 km southwest of Florence, San Gimignano is the place to go if you want to get a taste of the Tuscan countryside. This picturesque town is so beautiful it actually looks like a postcard picture from any angle.
The big towers spread out across the city premises, the ancient villas, and the green gardens surrounding San Gimignano make this place look like a movie location for a Hollywood movie. Back in the day, there were 72 towers, which were built by rich families who wanted to show everyone that they had money.
FUN FACT: Under the Tuscan Sun was actually filmed in the countryside of Tuscany!
The walls built in the 13th century managed to protect this UNESCO Heritage site over the years. The biggest attraction point is the Piazza della Cisterna, where you can climb the Torre Grossa, the tallest tower in town, and admire the beautiful views of this great Tuscan city. If you want to take trips to the other towns you can take the bus to Poggibonsi and then from there take a train to any other town.
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The 13 Best Towns And Villages To Stay In Tuscany
Tuscany is one of Italys most popular regions, filled with historic Renaissance architecture, rolling vineyards, rustic little hilltop towns and villages and distinctive cultural elements that allude back to its prosperous past. You can find plenty of recommendations for what to see and where to visit in Tuscany, but it can be harder to work out which town or village is best to stay in during your vacation.
If youre planning a visit to Tuscany but havent yet decided which part of the region youd like to stay in, heres our guide to thirteen of the best towns and villages to stay in Tuscany.
Best Places To Stay In Siena
NH Siena The perfect location for enjoying all of the sights of the city, this 5-star hotel is within walking distance of Sienas main attractions. Situated less than a kilometer away from the buzz of the Piazza del Campo but still in a quiet street NH Siena is the ideal place to get a good nights sleep in the center of the town. The hotel itself is housed in a large, elegant building, but mixes this with rooms decorated in a modern style and equipped with modern amenities. The onsite restaurant serves up traditional Tuscan dishes, plus theres a cocktail bar for late night drinks.
Hotel Athena Hotel Athena is a great option for accommodation if youre arriving in the city by car, since its situated just on the edge of the citys limited traffic zone and it offers guests free parking. The location inside the old city walls also means that the historic sites of Siena are within easy walking distance theres the Cathedral nearby as well as the lively Piazza del Campo. Tuck in to the large breakfast buffet and enjoy a candle lit dinner in the hotels terrace restaurant, complete with amazing views of the Tuscan countryside. Rooms are large and traditionally decorated: some even have balconies to relax on.
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