A Quick Guide to San Gimignano, Italy!

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany
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If I could pick just one place in Tuscany that left me speechless, it would be the quaint, charming and incredibly unassuming little town of San Gimignano. Preserved so well that it makes you feel as if you have stepped through a time machine, this town is bursting with character and some of the friendliest locals you will encounter on your travels through Italy (though in fairness, most Italians are full of character!) To make the most of your time here, be sure to follow this quick guide to San Gimignano!

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Introducing San Gimignano

Located southwest of Florence, this small Tuscan town on a hilltop can be reached in an hour by road, making it the perfect day trip from Florence. The town has managed to retain its medieval charm and is so well-kept that you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve taken a stroll back in time!

Aside from the gorgeousness, you’ll also find some of the world’s best gelato here (quite literally – be sure to read below!), very friendly locals, and some of the best views in all of Tuscany from the many towers. The town itself is very small, making walking the best way to get around. It is by walking that you will also discover the charm of the small cafes and boutiques, with plenty of wine tasting on offer throughout the streets!
San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Things to See & Do

Although relatively small in size (both geographically and by population), San Gamignano has a range of things to see and do to warrant a half day visit; more if you want to immerse yourself in the lively night scene and book an overnight stay. Whilst most of these attractions you will stumble upon just by walking the narrow streets, this list will help you ensure you check off all the must see sites before taking time to wander at leisure, popping in to small wine tastings and boutiques as you pass the afternoon by.

Piazza del Duomo

As the main square of San Gimignano, it is nearly impossible to come here and not stumble upon it – making for a great central starting point. Surrounding the square are thousands-of-years-old towers, so be sure to set aside a few euros to climb the stairs of one and take in those mesmerising views of the rolling hills and terracotta roofs.

Torre Grossa

The most popular tower to climb (and the tallest) is the Torre Grossa, priced at a reasonable 5 euros for entry. The entrance fee includes a visit to Pinacoteca Civica, a small but worthwhile painting gallery.

Market Day

If you chance your visit to coincide with market day (Thursdays), you will find yourself amidst a colourful and lively atmosphere with a chance to sample local fruits and delicacies as you wander from one store to the next. The market is held in Piazza del Duomo, the cities main square.

Walk the streets

But most importantly of all: task yourself with simply wandering the streets, meandering in and out of small alleyways off the main shopping streets and discovering the picturesque beauty of this small Tuscan town.

San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Where (and what) to Eat!

There’s a reason so many visitors flock to San Gimignano beyond the postcard prettiness, and it comes in the form of the world’s best gelato (yes, it was actually awarded such a title). The owner, Sergio, is a master of gelato and has twice one the sought-after title of Gelato Champione, and believe me when I say the flavours are life-changing. I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio and discovering his two prized flavours: Crema di Santa Fina (cream with saffron and pine nuts) and Raspberry & Rosemary sorbet. Despite the unusual flavour combinations, let me tell you these are two choices you will not regret (especially when eaten together – in the aforementioned order!!!)

As far as great wines go, you’ll find some of the best here in San Gamignano and surrounds. Nearby Poggio Winery is a great choice for the flavours of Tuscany.

Be sure to try the local Pecorino cheese and don’t be afraid to try a few (you’ll walk it off one way or another!)

If you’re touring around Tuscany with the comfort of a hire car, you might want to consider a visit to nearby La Roccaia Winery, a short drive outside of town and offering fantastic local wines.


San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

Towns & Cities to Visit Nearby





San Gimignano - Guide to Tuscany

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More on Tuscany:

Highlights of Italy – Where to visit in Tuscany

You can’t go to Florence & not see these 20 attractions

A Quick Guide to Pisa

A Quick Guide to Siena

I flew to Tuscany on a direct route with Qatar Airways. Flying from Australia, this meant just two flights to reach the Tuscan region: Melbourne – Doha & Doha – Pisa. I would highly recommend this route for travellers interested in basing their trip in Tuscany, a region that warrants at least one, but up to three weeks to discover. With thanks to Qatar Airways for welcoming me to experience Tuscany on this new direct route!

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    August 21, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Awesome photos! I love Italy!

    Lisa G
    August 20, 2016 at 8:01 am

    Stunning! My family and I rented a villa in one of the old buildings overlooking the piazza della cisterna, where that gelataria is! Maybe 4 or 5 years ago! They had a blackberry lavender flavor that changed my life! YUM!

    Hannif Insanwisata
    August 19, 2016 at 2:14 am

    OMG, italy. this wonderful place.Hope i can visit italy sometimes. Thanks for sharing.
    Im travel blogger from indonesia 🙂 check my daily notes on

    Mari Guedes
    August 17, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    I’ve been to San Gimignano and I must say not only it is my favorite Italian town, it’s one of my favorite ever. The most cute and charming place ever! <3

    August 17, 2016 at 1:32 am

    It looks beautiful! I love Tuscany so much. I think I need a trip back there very soon. Thanks for sharing xx

    Miles of Happiness - Marie
    August 15, 2016 at 9:17 am

    I went there ten years ago on a cultural trip. I can remember the beautiful tiny streets, the views, but the most important: I remember I had the best gelato in my life in San Gimignano!

    Shannon Off Duty
    August 15, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Love! Italia Forever:)

    August 15, 2016 at 1:30 am

    Stunning photos! Adding this one to my map 🙂

    August 14, 2016 at 7:18 am

    Gelato and this pittoresque landscape seem like a very good idea for a perfect Italian getaway. I should really consider visiting Tuscany after seeing your post 😀

    August 14, 2016 at 1:55 am

    The photos of old towns in Italy looks kind of similar with all these these arches, terracotta roofs and cobblestone roads.
    Here is my last post about Perugia as you can see – it looks kind of similar on the photos, but in the reality we know that every place in unique 🙂
    And our own impression makes it even more different.

    I am sure you enjoy Italy! Because who does not? ; )

    Deanna English
    August 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    How have I never heard of this quaint little town?! It looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely have to look into visiting San Gimignano the next time I’m in Florence.

    Jessica C
    August 13, 2016 at 5:35 pm

    We haven’t made it to Tuscany yet but this makes me want to go ASAP! Of course I want some gelato, but it looks like the perfect town to just stroll around. Thanks for the tips 🙂

    August 12, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    I love that you posted this! I was honestly there last week, exploring the streets by foot one afternoon (after feeling quite car sick on the way there). Gelato to die for, medieval vibes that made me feel like I was part of a fairy tale and some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve laid eyes on. The only thing is we couldn’t pronounce San Gimignano properly (I can now after lots of practice) and kept saying some sort of version of “San Jimmy Meow Meow”.
    Cheers! xo

    • Brooke Saward
      August 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

      hahaha I was having trouble with pronunciation and spelling too! such a cute town x

      Lisa G
      August 20, 2016 at 8:02 am

      When I was there with my family and two little ones, we called it “San-Jimmy-Jammy” 😉

    August 12, 2016 at 10:06 pm

    It’s such a beautiful little town, isn’t it? It’s one of those places I always travel to when I’m in Florence xx

    • Brooke Saward
      August 13, 2016 at 8:59 am

      It is stunning and the people were all so lovely! <3

    Daniela @ Grumpy Camel
    August 12, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    I’ve visited Italy three times and yet I feel like I haven’t even scratched the surface of this beautiful country. What a pretty town!

    August 12, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    I really like the pics. They are so pretty. I can’t wait to go to Tuscany this Autumn.

    Tessa Browne
    August 12, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    These photos are amazing! They look so similar to the views in Siena, which makes sense as I’m now discovering they’re quite close. That gelato looks so good!

    Tessa at

    sophie nadeau
    August 12, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    This town looks SO pretty!!

    Hang Around The World
    August 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve been there and I enjoyed my time in Gimignano. It’s a little city but it’s so cute and characteristic, the nature is a beautiful background!!
    Italy has a lot of amazing places <3

    Cait to Gate
    August 12, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    We were just there not more than two months ago! Beautiful city, and though full of tourists at the time, still managed to take you back in time! I wish we had been able to spend more than a couple hours there exploring!

    August 12, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Very timely article as I am travelling to Tuscany in September and have booked a couple of nights in San Gimignano. It’ll be my first trip to the region. Now you’ve made me even more excited than I was before! Thanks for all the tips. I’ll be sure to refer back to this post when I’m there.

    August 12, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Visited San Gimignano back in 2007 and LOVED it!! I was only 15 but I remember being so in awe of how medieval and quaint it was! Would love to visit again 🙂

    Olivia Menghini
    August 12, 2016 at 9:01 am

    San Gimignano is a beautiful little town, especially if you go on a sunny day and take a picnic! However, I found that the gelati didn’t match that of Florence’s ‘Il Gelato Gourmet’, where the Peanut flavour (practically unavailable in every gelateria I visited throughout Italy over a 10 month period) will BLOW YOUR MIND!
    Cant wait to see what you thought of Siena, Brooke!

    • Brooke Saward
      August 12, 2016 at 9:39 am

      OMG PEANUT GELATO!!! I haven’t found any anywhere either – though I do love Snickers 🙂

    james milligan
    August 12, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Loved this article with photos and story. I want to go there.