I like to think of San Gimignano as somewhat of a secret. It is a lesser known medieval city in the Tuscany region of Italy near Florence but is such a lovely city to explore. They are apparently home to one of the World’s Best Gelateria’s! My parents have both always loved this little town due to its less crowded streets in relation to Florence; which is a complete zoo during tourist season.
How to get here? How to get around locally?
San Gimignano is just over an hour’s drive outside of Florence. It is also accessible by bus which, as you might imagine, will take closer to two hours but you will get to avoid the frustrating rental car processes as well as avoiding the parking nightmare.
There isn’t a ton of parking here, so the only place to leave your car is on the side of the road leading to the city. The city is surrounded by a wall so there are designated places to enter and it’s not a massive place. Even in just three years between my visits to this city, the number of cars parked on the side of that road was way longer the second time.
Where to stay? How much time/When to go?
I have never stayed overnight here; I’ve only been on a day trip (2x). I imagine spring/fall seasons are the best times to visit but it was pretty lovely in the late summer when I was there; perhaps because it hasn’t been discovered by a lot of tourists yet.
How much money?
I would consider this city a bit pricier than some of the others due to quality. Expect to spend a decent amount but INDULGE in everything this stunning place has to offer and soak it all in.
What to do?
This is more of a relaxing, scenic city full of food and wine than an outdoor adventure type of city. There are churches, towers, galleries and several museums located here. There is loads of delicious food and mild crowds.
We ate our dinner at a restaurant right next to a church where we could just hear the service. Churches seem to be as common in Italy and you always know when you’re near one because there is usually beautiful singing coming from inside.
We did quite a bit of shopping here. Like the rest of Italy, there are some terrific retail shops that sell all kinds of Italian leather products. There are loads of high quality souvenir shops. This is also the first city I ran into the penis pasta! (It seems like all of Europe has a weird obsession with penises.)
This is one of those cities that embodies everything Italian. The streets are beautiful. The gelato is splendid. The food rich with flavor. It’s remarkably photogenic. It’s surrounded by rolling hills blanketed in flourishing vineyards that will soon become delightful wines.
For real though, how could you not fall in love? It’s another piece of eye candy in Italy’s candy jar.