Uncovering San Gimignano
Posted by Kiri (30/12/2016)
Of all the medieval hilltop towns in Tuscany, San Gimignano is possibly the most well-known. It’s famous for its 13th century walls and medieval towers and houses. Naturally it was on the top of my to do list for our Tuscan trip. I had done my research and browsed pictures of San Gimignano online. I had a pretty good idea of what it might look like, but the reality surpassed my expectations.
I was first captivated by this charming town when we were driving through the bendy Tuscan roads and I caught a glimpse of San Gimignano in the distance. Seeing it from afar definitely entices you to get closer. Once you get to the top of the road that leads to the town, you will instantly notice the towering walls.
I would recommend going early in the morning, rather than just before lunch time like we did. Parking is a bit of a struggle. If you are feeling active you may want to park outside the town at the bottom of the hill, but be prepared for a climb.
Once inside, you can admire the architecture and really start to uncover the town. It felt like we were inside some sort of medieval castle or village, especially when you are walk along the cobbled streets and notice all the buildings. You won’t fail to notice the distinctive The Duomo di San Gimignano, a 12th century church in the centre.
One thing I particularly remember about San Gimignano is the quirky shops. If you want to buy some traditional Tuscan goods such as pottery, pasta, Tuscan sausages, olive oil and wine then you will be spoilt for choice here. I also remember the two torture museums which unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore, but they definitely added to the medieval atmosphere of the town.
There’s also plenty of restaurants to try, but some are tucked in hidden corners and up cobbled paths. You have to investigate the backstreets properly in order to find some of the really local restaurants.
We settled for a traditional pizza place run by a local family. We tried the Tuscan sausage and spinach pizza, which didn’t have tomato sauce, but was delicious nonetheless. The spinach in Tuscany has so much flavour, I have tried to recreate it back home b8ut it never tastes the same.
Make sure you save some time to walk to the highest point in San Gimignano where you can enjoy spectacular views. You can see right into the Tuscan countryside and beyond. Some of the restaurants also boast amazing panoramic views so you can take in the scenery whilst tucking into your meal.
I made a video of our time in San Gimignano. Unfortunately it was raining, but that didn’t stop us from really appreciating this unique medieval town. Check out the video here and see what we got up to. Thinking of booking a holiday to Tuscany? Take a look at some of our luxurious private villas we have in and around San Gimignano and find out more about the town here.