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The walled medieval village of San Gimignano, halfway between Florence and Siena, is perched on the top of a hill in typical Tuscan style. It's beautifully preserved medieval streets are dominated by a forest of 12th and 13th-century towers built by the village’s noble inhabitants as competing symbols of their wealth. At its peak, there were 72 towers, though just 14 remain today. San Gimignano's picturesque rural setting and atmospheric medieval architecture make it a popular day trip from Florence, and you’ll find plenty of good trattorias along with shops selling locally-produced saffron and the fruity white Vernaccia di San Gimignano wine.

A hilltop idyll, San Gimignano is small enough to be explored during a leisurely afternoon and yet full of interesting nooks and crannies, with several towers you can climb for views over the Tuscan countryside.

Italy specialist Kimberly

Things to see and do in San Gimignano


San Gimignano's Romanesque collegiate church was consecrated by the pope in 1148 and is most famous for its magnificent frescoes. Set on the Via Francigena, the pilgrimage route to Rome, the church grew along with the town's fortunes and by the 14th century was able to commission leading artists to complete its cycle of vivid frescoes. These remarkable artworks are generally very well preserved and depict scenes from the Old and New Testaments as well as stories about local Saint Fina, who is celebrated in a beautiful side chapel decorated in an elaborate Renaissance style.

Piazza della Cisterna

Named after the 13th-century well at its heart, triangular Piazza della Cisterna is one of the town's two main squares. It's surrounded by a rich collection of medieval houses and towers, once owned by the town's most affluent citizens. An ancient city gate, Arco dei Becci, sits in its southwest corner flanked by further towers. The square would have been originally used for markets and public events, but today it's a wonderful place to linger over coffee in one of the cafés before exploring the narrow side streets that branch off into the town.

Palazzo Comunale & Torre Grossa

The 13th-century Palazzo Comunale, or municipal palace, has been the heart of civic society in San Gimignano for centuries and today still houses the town council offices. In times past, dignitaries would have addressed the crowd in the square below from the first floor gallery. Today, the interiors remain much as they would have been in medieval times with intricate frescoes of castles and rural scenes, as well as religious works and, in the Camera del Podestà, unusual matrimonial scenes. The palazzo is adorned with the village's highest tower, the 54 m (177 ft) Torre Grossa, which you can climb for spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.

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Audley Travel specialist Laura

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Suggested itineraries featuring San Gimignano

Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in San Gimignano, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.

Map of San Gimignano

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    Our expert guides to exploring San Gimignano

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting San Gimignano, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate San Gimignano at its best.

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      Italian market produce

      Food highlights of Italy

      Food highlights of Italy

      Italy specialist Caroline talks about her love of Italian food in this guide, focusing on the more renowned culinary cities and regions. She also talks about her experiences of creating pasta, catching fresh fish for dinner in Sorrento, wine tasting in Tuscany's Chianti region and where to eat like a local.

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