San Gimignano

San Gimignano is a pretty medieval walled city in Tuscany, Italy, famous for its historic centre with beautiful towers (inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List) and great art. It is small enough to be effectively visited as a day trip from nearby cities like Siena and Florence, but it has a different atmosphere at night that many travelers find it worthwhile to experience.

Get in

The towers of San Gimignano

By bus

Buses leave from Florence's bus station (next to the train station) hourly, and take 1.25 to 2 hours including a change in Poggibonsi for €6. From Siena there are €5.20, 75-minute bus rides (5 a day), again with a change in Poggibonsi. Volterra has 4 buses to San Gimignano every day, that take 2 hours and change in Colle di Val d'Elsa. Sunday buses are fewer and more crowded.

Buses leaving San Gimignano depart from Porta San Giovanni, with tickets sold at the bar just inside the gate or at the Tourist Info.

By car

You may also arrive by car. You can't drive inside the town walls, but there are several pay parking lots just outside the town walls, with free places further away. The handiest lot, Parcheggio Montemaggio, outside Porta San Giovanni, fills quickly, but they let 1 car in for every one that leaves, so you can wait (€2/hour). There is free parking on the side of the road going down from the turnabout.

By train

The historical town of San Gimignano on the hill has no train station, but you can easily reach San Gimignano by taking a train to Poggibonsi (labelled "Poggibonsi-S.G.") and then a bus from the Poggibonsi train station to San Gimignano. These buses cost €3.60 (2007) each way, leave every 30-40 minutes, and you can inquire for information, schedules, and tickets at the tourist information office which is located ahead toward the right as you walk out of the train station.

If you are going from Florence (Firenze) to Poggibonsi, direct trains are not so frequent but you will find many connections to Poggibonsi via Empoli.

Get around

On foot

San Gimignano is very small (you can walk from the gate to the other side of town in 20 minutes), and you must disembark from your car or bus outside the city walls, in any case.

By shuttle bus

An electric shuttle bus goes all day from Porta San Giovanni to Piazza della Cisterna to Porta San Matteo. The fare is € 1, 2/hours, and you can buy a ticket at Tourist Info or the Tabacchi shop.

See

Piazza della Cisterna, showing the well (now disused) it is named for
St. Augustine Teaching in Rome, fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli at the church of Sant'Agostino

The Piazza del Duomo, the town church's square, is surrounded by thousand-year-old towers. The town's 14 Towers are all that remain of the original 72, which were owned by the rich to stay safe when the town was sacked. After Florence took control of San Gimignano, most of them were torn down. The Piazza della Cisterna is a beautiful piazza with an old stone well (no longer used) in the middle. This is where a Thursday market gathers.

Do

Buy

You will notice shops where free wine tastings are offered. If you consider the wines a good value, buy some bottles. You may find the wine expensive.

Eat

The main piazzas are crowded, but there are small alleys which have much cheaper restaurants.

Sleep

Bastione San Francesco, part of the Medieval defense of the town

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, February 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.