In the heart of Tuscany, twelve medieval towers can be viewed rising above the rustic landscape. These towers are the home of San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and adorable town. The red stucco tiled roofs, ancient cobblestones, and vintage shops make this charming town the perfect destination for any type of traveler. From a visit to the surrounding winery, wandering through the local piazza’s or a tour through the tower museum, San Gimignano is a must-see if you are anywhere near Tuscany. Make the most of your time there with our list of the best things to do!
1. Explore the Duomo di San Gimignano
In the heart of San Gimignano lies the Duomo di San Gimignano. This twelfth-century church is known for its classic fresco’s completed by some of Tuscany’s most famous historic artists. Placed in the historic city center, this basilica remains a key part of the city’s culture. Walk through the basilica to see the beautiful art and impressive architecture, while marveling at the nine hundred-year-old materials. Don’t miss this historic piece of art and culture. Make sure to check the website so you can coordinate its opening times with your schedule and bring a couple of euros to donate to its upkeep on your way in.
Duomo di San Gimignano
Address: Piazza Duomo, 2, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Website: Duomo di San Gimignano
2. Wander through the Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Cisterna
Whether you are spending an afternoon, a week or a summer in San Gimignano, you will quickly realize the two main piazzas are frequently visited locations. The Piazza del Duomo is home to the historic Duomo di San Gimignano, with impressive architecture surrounding it and an excellent base for your time in the city. Next to Piazza del Duomo is the connecting Piazza della Cisterna, another medieval location in San Gimignano. This piazza is surrounded by houses, shops, restaurants, and an ancient city gate. There is no way to miss these two impressive piazzas during your time in San Gimignano.
Piazza del Duomo
Address: Piazza Duomo, 8, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Piazza della Cisterna
Address: Piazza Della Cisterna, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
3. Walk through the historic city center & visit the shops
As a UNESCO Heritage Site, the historic center of San Gimignano is filled with historic charm, quaint shops, and fantastic restaurants. The fourteenth and fifteenth-century buildings display the architectural details and wonders of this medieval city. Spend an afternoon wandering around the attached shops and check out the local specialties including saffron and white wine. You will not be able to look away for long, making this central area idea for a full afternoon of wandering cobblestone streets.
Historic Centre of San Gimignano
Address: Piazza Pecori, 4, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Website: Historic Centre of San Gimignano
4. Wine tasting at the Museo del Vino
Instead of picking a single winery, make your way to the Museo del Vino and experience a tasting of sixteen local labels of Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Not only will you get to taste delicious wines, but the expert sommeliers will widen your general and local knowledge of wine. This museum makes sure your experience is as wide ranging as possible, so book a tasting in advance and enjoy the phenomenal views of the countryside from the museum! The wine experience is open every day from 11:00 am to 7:30 pm, making it a must-do afternoon activity during your time in San Gimignano!
Museo del Vino Vernaccia di San Gimignano
Address: Via della Rocca, 1, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
5. Explore the bell towers & climb to the observation tower of Torre Grossa
A trip to San Gimignano is not complete without experiencing the famous bell towers across the city. As not all of the towers are accessible, Torre Grossa is an excellent way to experience the charm of the towers. Torre Grossa is the tallest of the fourteen remaining bell towers, which means it is approximately 200 steps to the top. This easy climb is complete with spectacular views of the city and surrounding countryside, as well as an attached gift shop. Just off the main Piazza del Duomo, this tower is easy accessible and a nice adventure. The 9 EUR entrance fee (11 USD) not only gives you admittance to Torre Grossa, but numerous other local museums and attractions as well!
Address: Piazza del Duomo, San Gimignano, Italy
Website: Torre Grossa
6. Spend an afternoon at Torre e Casa Campatelli
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
The second tower we recommend visiting is Campatelli. Not only is this tower impressive in its own right, there is an attached historic house, known as Casa Campatelli. This eighteenth-century building is furnished to look like it did when it was originally inhabited by a noble family. The museum inside the house tells the story of a traditional Tuscan family, the local culture and historic facts about San Gimignano and the surrounding region. If you are still interested in the story of the Campatelli, there is an attached bookstore with plenty of information. With an entrance fee of 5 EUR (6 USD) for adults or 3 EUR (3.50 USD) for students, this excursion is well worth an afternoon.
Torre e Casa Campatelli
Address: Via San Giovanni, 15, 53037 San Gimignano
Website: Torre e Casa Capatelli
7. Eat gelato - Gelateria Dondoli
There really is nowhere better to enjoy a delicious gelato than in the heart of Tuscany. San Gimignano can go one step further and offer delicious gelato in the middle of a UNESCO Heritage Site: Gelateria Dondoli, located in the historic Piazza della Cisterna. All of the ice cream at Gelateria Dondoli is made in house, with fresh, preservative-free ingredients and passion put into every taste. Make your way to this adorable Gelateria and have a taste of Italian gelato at its finest, then enjoy it in the attached medieval square!
Address: Piazza della Cisterna 4, 53037 San Gimignano
Website: Gelateria Dondoli
8. Check out local art at Galleria Gagliardi
San Gimignano is an art piece unto itself. However, if you need a break from wandering the streets and viewing the phenomenal architecture of the city, stop into Galleria Gagliardi, a local art gallery filled with contemporary art. This gallery has both permanent and rotating collections, with a mix of paintings, sculptures and other fine art pieces. Check out their website to see which exhibitions are ongoing or coming soon to plan your visit.
Address: Via San Giovanni, 57, 53037 San Gimignano, Italy
Website: Galleria Gagliardi
A truly stunning town
The ancient towers of San Gimignano rise above the lush hills of Tuscany, welcoming anyone who steps within its walls. A full day spent simply wandering the cobblestone streets, glancing up at the impressive towers and historic buildings, won’t be enough time spent in this beautiful town. Make the most of your time there with our suggestions for a wonderful day out and about in San Gimignano.
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