What To Do on a Day Trip to Historic San Gimignano Tuscany
About an hour south of Florence is the picturesque Tuscan hill town of San Gimignano. This UNESCO world heritage site is best known for its towers, built in the 13th and 14th centuries as a show of wealth. The city is also known for its unique wine varietal, Vernaccia, and has many wineries located outside the walls of the town. Charming but small, it’s the perfect destination for a day trip from Florence.
Getting to San Gimignano
The town doesn’t have a train station, so to get here you will need to find some wheels. Many tour operators offer full or half-day tours that include San Gimignano. You can check out the top-rated San Gimignano tours here. Or if you rent a car you can drive yourself and enjoy the fabulous Tuscan countryside on your way down to San Gimignano.
Touring the town
Within the walls of the city, you will find the Palazzo Comunale and Torre Grossa. Here you can climb 218 steps to reach the top of the tower. I know, it sounds miserable, especially when someone gives you the step count ahead of time, but trust me. Climb on up and be rewarded with great views of the town and countryside. Inside the Palazzo Comunale, you can find artwork from the 13th through the 15th centuries.
Piazza della Cisterna is the main square of San Gimignano. It hosts markets on Thursdays and Saturdays. On this square, you will also find Gelateria Dondoli. Their gelato has won multiple awards in Italy so you can use that as the excuse for having another gelato. But really, you can never have too much gelato when you are visiting Italy.
The Duomo of San Gimignano is also known as the Collegiate Church. While its outside is less grand than the Duomos of larger cities, the inside is striking and contains the original unrestored frescoes making it worth a visit.
Heading Back to Florence
Regardless of if you got to San Gimignano by bus or by car, make sure you visit a winery before heading back to Florence. Try Il Palagione or Podere La Marronaia for organically grown Vernaccia wine. It’s a great way to see more of the beautiful Tuscan countryside while learning about wine production in Italy.