15 Amazing Things to Do in San Gimignano (Italy)

San Gimignano in Italy is a real highlight on any trip to Tuscany. Known as the “Medieval Manhattan” or also as “The City of Towers”, the old town with its medieval skyline fascinates all its visitors. There are so many outstanding things to do in San Gimignano! A visit takes you back in time by drifting through the picturesque stone alleys, marveling at historical attractions and enjoying the unique viewpoints from the high towers of the city. If you like, you can try the possibly best ice cream in the world or taste the delicious wines of the Chianti region. However, not only the historic center is beautiful, also the surrounding of San Gimignano, with its countless wineries and excursion destinations is worth seeing!

In this travel guide, we will provide you with all the important information about San Gimignano in Italy so that you can enjoy a perfect stay. In addition, we show the best things to do in San Gimignano, fantastic pictures and reveal our insider tips.

Good to know!

The best place to stay in San Gimignano is in one of the agritourism accommodations. A real insider tip is the Agriturismo Mormoraia with a nice pool and amazing view.

San Gimignano in Italy is famous for its beautiful old town with the 15 towers, which are the reason it is also known as the “City of Towers” or “Medieval Manhattan”.

San Gimignano is one of the most famous cities in the region along with Florence, Pisa and Siena. If you are planning a round trip, take a look the best things to do in Tuscany.

Really awesome excursions, as well as bike tours, cooking classes and wine tastings are offered on GetyourGuide. Perfect if you are looking for a special Tuscany experience.

General Information about San Gimignano

San Gimignano is located in the province of Siena and is a small town in Tuscany with about 8,000 inhabitants. Since 1990, the historic center with its many medieval towers has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list and is now one of the most important places to visit in the entire region. The architecture of the old town is characterized by medieval towers, churches and a well-preserved city wall. Along with the visitor magnets Florence, Siena and Pisa, San Gimignano is one of the most visited places in Tuscany for tourists. The hilltop location is also unique, thanks to which one can enjoy picturesque views of the green vineyards and the Mediterranean landscape.

The history of this town dates back to 300 B.C. At that time, San Gimignano had already been inhabited by the Etruscans. The time of the Middle Ages (11th to 13th century), when the famous towers of San Gimignano were built, was the heyday of this region. There were once 72 of these medieval patrician family houses. Today, 15 of them can still be admired and some of these towers can even be climbed. It is, above all, the large number of the still well-preserved towers that makes San Gimignano so special and unique in Italy.


Things to Do in San Gimignano

During a vacation in San Gimignano, you can expect a massive range of things to see and find diverse activities. Among the main attractions of the old town are the high towers, but also the many romantic squares, the interesting museums and galleries. And there is also a lot to discover in the area around! Here are the best things to do in San Gimignano at a glance!

Piazza della Cisterna

One of the most important attractions in San Gimignano is the Piazza della Cisterna, the Cistern Square. It owes its name to the underground cisterns that were built as early as 1287. Particularly beautiful here are the ancient historic town houses, which are home to many cozy cafés, ice cream parlors and small stores nowadays. The highlight and probably one of the most popular photo spots on this triangular square is the beautiful medieval stone fountain.

Tip: Every Thursday, the big weekly market of San Gimignano takes place at Piezza della Cisterna. This market starts at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m.

Piazza del Duomo

One of the best things to do in San Gimignano is to visit the stunning Piazza del Duoma, which is just near the famous Piazze della Cisterna. Around the Duomo square there are many other interesting attractions, such as Torre Grossa – the highest tower in the city, the Town Hall and the Collegiata Santa Maria Assunta. Especially the medieval ambience with the historic aristocratic houses and the high towers radiate a unique flair, which can be best enjoyed from the large staircase of the church.

Tip: A stay directly in the old town of San Gimignano is a delightful experience. For this, you can find some ingenious accommodations like the lovely Fabio Apartments or the Hotel Bel Soggiorno.

Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta (Duomo)

The Duomo of San Gimignano, also known as Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, is a Roman Catholic collegiate church and, at the same time, one of the most fascinating places to visit in San Gimignano. First and foremost, this church is famous for the fantastic mural paintings, the many frescoes and paintings inside. Works by artists such as Taddeo di Bartolo, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Lippo Memmi decorate this church and make it a must-see for all art lovers!

Tip: At the ticket office you can also buy combined tickets, which allow you to visit the large tower, the Civici Museum and the church at a reasonable price.

The Towers of San Gimignano

The towers of San Gimignano are the ultimate landmark and therefore the highlight of this historic city. Since a luxurious life was not yet possible in the Middle Ages, patrician families tried to prove themselves with the height of their towers as status symbols. Today, there are still 15 of the 72 towers inside the old town. The most important is the Great Tower of San Gimignano. The so-called 54-meter high Torre Grossa can even be climbed, and all those who manage the approximately 220 steps are rewarded with one of the best viewpoints in the city. From the top you can enjoy a wonderful view of the green landscape of Tuscany, but also of the beautiful medieval old town.

Tip: An insider’s tip for a unique stay in San Gimignano is the Torre Salvucci Maggiore, as this apartment is located in a medieval tower with a breathtaking beautiful view!

Alleys of the Old Town

The car-free center of San Gimignano is not too big and can therefore be explored comfortably on a city walk. Surrounded by a well-preserved city wall, 5 gates provide access to the old town. The best way to get around the city center is to let yourself drift and explore the pretty alleys just by walking around. Small delicatessen stores with regional delicacies, cozy cafés, wine bars and restaurants invite to take a break. In between you will discover small galleries and also the SanGimignano 1300 Museum is worth a visit.

Gelateria Dondoli

Ice cream lovers will also get their money’s worth in San Gimignano because here you will find one of the best ice cream parlors in Italy, the award-winning Gelateria Dondoli on the main square, Piazza della Cisterna. Already several times awarded as ice cream world champion, a tasting of the delicious ice cream creations is one of the best things to do in San Gimignano. In addition to the typical old-fashioned varieties, there are also some unusual flavors, such as walnut & Gorgonzola, raspberry & rosemary or cappuccino & rum. The queue is usually long, but it’s worth waiting!

Museo Civico

A visit to the Museo Civico is definitely one of the best things to do in San Gimingnano. It is located directly under the Torre Grossa, in the town hall built in 1288, and contains works of art from the Middle Ages from the 13th to the 15th century. Worth seeing here is also the facade of the staircase, which in the past was used to announce new laws. In the upper part of the museum there is a picture gallery, which exhibits works of the Sienese and Florentine schools. From the Pinacoteca you can reach the Torre Grossa, built in 1311, from which you can enjoy a fascinating view of San Gimignano.

Tip: This museum is also included in the San Gimignano Card.

Torre e Casa Campatelli Museum

A real insider tip for San Gimignano is a visit to the Campatelli Museum. Here you can see the luxurious living rooms of the last Campatelli family and marvel at beautiful furniture and paintings from the 19th century. The tower itself is from the 12th century and is about 28 meters high. Although it is no longer possible to climb it, the museum offers a view into the interior of this medieval Tower.

Tip: The entrance fee also includes a magnificent multimedia show. You will learn plenty of interesting things about the history of the town and Tuscany.

Church of San Lorenzo al Ponte

The church of San Lorenzo al Ponte is a small-hidden gem and certainly a sight in San Gimignano that not everyone already knows. In the historic center there are numerous beautiful churches and monasteries. However, this church, dating from 1240, is absolutely unique because it is one of the oldest in the city. Worthwhile is especially a visit to the interior of the church, where you can admire beautiful frescoes by the Florentine artist Cenni di Francesco di ser Cenni.

Parco della Rocca (Viewpoint)

Beautiful and a fascinating attraction in San Gimignano are the Montestaffoli ruins in the Parco della Rocca. This is a public park in the west of the town, situated on a hill. Don’t miss checking out the Vista Panoramica viewpoint, wherefrom you can enjoy a magnificent view of the city towers on one side and a fantastic view of the fabulous Tuscan countryside and vineyards on the other.

Tip: Right in front of the entrance is the Vernaccia di San Gimignano, a lovely wine-bar with a cozy terrace, which offers a fine selection of Vernaccia wines to taste.

Surrounding of San Gimignano

In the surroundings of San Gimignano you have the opportunity to explore beautiful landscapes with vineyards and numerous excursion destinations. A real insider tip is the panoramic hiking trail “Bella Vista su San Gimignano”, which leads around the town and offers picturesque viewpoints of the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”. On this picturesque route, you will also experience a wonderful landscape and a winery invites you to take a break. This walking circuit goes 9 kilometers around the town and is the best option to admire the beautiful scenery of the surroundings.

Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta a Cellole

The romantic church Pieve di Santa Maria Assunta a Cellole is located just outside the town of San Gimignano, in a stunning location on a hill overlooking hilly Tuscany. What is most impressive there is the tranquility, but also the enchanting idyll that surrounds this almost magical place. The three-aisled basilica was first mentioned in a document in 1109 and then consecrated in 1238. Inside you can see a baptismal font made of travertine and the remains of frescoes from the 14th century. A small monastery and a picturesque cypress garden are also part of the complex.

Excursions from San Gimignano

From San Gimignano you can go on various exciting excursions and day trips. That’s why it is so worthwhile to stay a few days in this region! The following attractions are really worth seeing and can be easily reached from San Gimignano:

Only 30 kilometers from San Gimignano is the picturesque medieval town of Volterra, another highlight of Tuscany.

We also recommend a trip to Colle di Val d’Elsa (28 km), where the “Sentierelsa – Trail” along the cobalt blue river is a must-do.

From San Gimignano, you can explore the famous city of Siena. On the way there, you should not miss the small town of Monteriggioni!

Also the famous city of Florence is not far away and can be visited during a day trip from San Gimignano.


Where to Stay in San Gimignano

San Gimignano offers its visitors a wide range of fabulous accommodations. From well-kept wineries to agritourist apartments and camping sites with pool, everything can be found. Here are our recommendations for the most beautiful accommodations in San Gimignano…It’s worth a look!

  • Agriturismo with Pool: The Agriturismo Mormoraia enchants with an incredibly beautiful location in the middle of the vineyards with a view of San Gimignano.
  • Castle with Pool: The Castello di Fulignano is a beautiful castle with apartments, a huge pool and a wonderful panoramic view over the hills of Tuscany.
  • Apartment with a View: The Appartamento AVA nell’antica dimora di Fulignano offers beautiful apartments in a brilliant position overlooking San Gimignano.
  • B&B in the Center: The Casa Torre Margherita is a real insider tip in the heart of the old town of San Gimignano. Here, a great location and a delicious breakfast await you.

Find the best accommodation in San Gimignano:


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