There are many things to do in San Gimignano, this beautiful medieval town in Tuscany has unique experiences to offer. The town’s history dates back as far as 63 BC when it was founded by Muzio and Silvio, two aristocratic brothers who fled Rome and built two castles there. San Gimignano was later named after the Bishop of Modena, who lived in 5th century BC and became a saint for saving the city from an invasion from Attila the Hun. Famous for its medieval architecture, towers, and fabulous landscape it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. San Gimignano is a small town that can be seen in one day, with beautiful views that are unforgettable.
I spent one full day in San Gimignano and felt that it was the perfect amount of time to see all the main sites, have a relaxing stroll, and a delicious dinner. Make sure you spend a few nights in one of the beautiful villas in the area, to really take in the Tuscan life. The following are my experiences and suggestions for your visit to San Gimignano. Read more to find out the best things to do when visiting San Gimignano, Italy.
Piazza della Cisterna
The piazza is located at the intersection of two main streets of the village of San Gimignano: la via Francigena and la via Pisa-Siena. It is enclosed by a wall of nobility houses and medieval towers. The piazza was used for festivals, markets, and tournaments and was a popular gathering since the 1200s.
Church of San Gimignano (Duomo di San Gimignano)
Duomo di San Gimignano is located in the Piazza del Duomo, at the town’s center. It is known for its magnificent frescoes, books of the past, that cover most of the interior walls. The 15th-century illustrations are made up of the Old Testament, New Testament, and Last Judgment and the stories of St Fina.
The Salvucci Towers are the twin towers, also known as the “Torri Gemelle.” They belonged to the Ghibelline family, who acquired riches through commerce. The towers were built to show the supremacy of the family to the city. Another rival family later built two towers opposite side of the piazza, the Torri deli Ardinghelli.
(view from) Torre Grossa
The Torre Grossa was built in 1311 and is the tallest tower in San Gimignano. You can climb the internal staircase all the way to the top! When you reach the top, this is where you will get your best pictures of the town and countryside. This is a must have experience and should definitely be on your list of things to do while you are there.
If you have an interest in medieval torture, check out one of the three torture museums. Which shows medieval devices and tells stories about how humans were tortured through the centuries. An educational stop, not for the faint of heart.
Vernaccia Wine Tasting
No trip to Tuscany is complete without a glass (or bottle) of wine. San Gimignano is known for their white wine made from the Vernaccia grapes, considered Italy’s finest white wine. It is a crisp and dry white wine, best paired with seafood or pasta.
After visiting the museums and towers, take a relaxing stroll through the town. The shops carry local gourmet foods. The region is known for its wine, olive oil, and pasta.
While perusing the shops be sure to sample wild boar sausage!
More medieval architecture and treasures of San Gimignano…
If you have more than a day in San Gimignano, here are a few more suggestions.
Palazzo Comunale, Torre del Diavolo, and Galleria d’ Arte Moderna e’ Contemporanea