San Gimignano and its surroundings are well worth a visit to enjoy both historical monuments and taste great wines. This town situated on the Via Francigena represents a pleasant stop for pilgrims directed to Rome in the Middle Ages and present visitors looking for ancient medieval towns in Tuscany.
Discover the medieval heart of San Gimignano.
Founded by Etruscans in the III century BC, San Gimignano turned into a fortified town during the Middle Ages, when numerous towers (up to 72!) where erected. If you come from the valley, you will notice the skyline of San Gimignano, dotted with the 13 towers left and palaces dating back to the thirteenth century built by important families to celebrate their power.
San Gimignano enjoyed maximum economical and political glory till the fourteenth century, that’s why you can still admire many historical buildings from the Middle Ages but also new monuments built at the end of the nineteenth century during the Gothic Renovation period.
The city centre being situated on a hill, you will have the chance to take scenic views of the Tuscan landscape, in particular if you have a walking tour along the city walls overlooking the unique panorama of Valle d’Elsa. If you enter the city by one of the gates, the main street will lead you directly to the heart of the medieval San Gimignano. As an example you may start the tour from Porta San Giovanni walking through Via San Giovanni and reach Piazza della Cisterna, the wonderful square dominated by a well, red brick palaces and the impressive Devil’s Tower.
You will find other beautiful point of interests at the adjacent Piazza Duomo: Palazzo Comunale (the City Hall), Palazzo Salvucci, Palazzo Chigi Useppi, Palazzo Vecchio and Torre Rognosa.
If you have an appetite for excellent Italian wines, the tour continues in cellars and wine bars…
Vernaccia di San Giminiano, a unique wine of Tuscany.
Gourmet travellers find San Gimignano to be the perfect place to taste DOC wines – Vernaccia, San Gimignano Rosso and Rosato, Vin Santo, Chianti Colli Senesi – whose grapes come directly from the hundred Tuscan vineyards that you may observe along the way from Florence.
Reach San Gimignano to taste wines praised by artists and poets such as Francesco Redi and Michelangelo Buonarroti. In his L’Aione, Michelangelo describes Vernaccia wine as follows: “It kisses, leaks, bites, pricks, and stings”. Actually, this delicate white wine gained DOCG recognition in 1993 and is characterized by a fruity flavour that will catch your senses.
Much of the wine history and production can be learned at the dedicated Vernaccia Wine Museum located in Villa della Rocca di Montestaffoli on a hilly position overlooking the vineyards. At the Vernaccia Wine Museum you can book a wine tasting workshop and a tour that will help to appreciate the essence of this wine which boasts a production of 9 million bottles per year, sold in Italy and abroad.
A travel to San Gimignano represents a joy for curious eyes and fine palates!
If you want to get to San Gimignano from Emilia Romagna, the best way is to catch a train from Bologna or Pisa directed to Siena, stop at Poggibonsi station, then take the bus to San Gimignano.
© Valentina Grassiccia