San Gimignano is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. It’s located between Florence and Siena, so it’s easy to get there by car or train. The city is famous all over the world because of its towers that are still standing today. You can also see some medieval houses with their original windows and doors, as well as churches from different periods. So here is how you can spend one day in San Gimignano itinerary!
Perfect One Day in San Gimignano Itinerary: Explore San Gimignano in a day
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Things to do in San Gimignano one day itinerary
- Wander the Historic Centre of San Gimignano
- Join a Tuscan Cooking Class with wine tasting
- Visit the cathedral of San Gimignano
- Check out the Town Hall, Civic Museum of San Gimignano, Torre Grossa – Great Tower
- Check out Torre e Casa Campatelli
- Visit the Museums of Torture and the Death Penalty
- Hit local stores and cafes
- Walk around the city walls of San Gimignano
Planning for your trip to San Gimignano Italy
San Gimignano is located in north-central Italy in the Tuscan countryside. To get to this medieval wall town, the easiest option is to take the train or a day tour from Florence.
- Florence to San Gimignano is 1.50 hours by train. Regional trains depart from Santa Maria Novella station in Florence to San Gimignano every day.
- You can also get to San Gimignano by driving, and it will take you a little over an hour.
Siena to San Gimignano: Many visitors to Tuscany prefer to go on a day trip to San Gimignano from Siena – and our itinerary is perfect for that! So the driving distance is about 45 minutes, and there are trains that take you there in an hour.
Once in San Gimignano, you don’t need public transport, as this Tuscan town is small and is completely walkable. Read: One day in Siena itinerary
Here is what you can do in one day in San Gimignano,
Wander the town centre of San Gimignano: Centro Storico | Piazza della Cisterna
The Historic Centre of San Gimignano is a cultural site of exceptional value having preserved much of its architecture for centuries. This is where you will realize how quintessentially Toscana San Gimignano is – pretty lanes, views, wines, and stunning medieval architecture!
The heart of this old center is little Piazza della Cisterna, which is the town’s triangular main square. This is where you’ll also find a cluster of structures: the stump from Casa Razzi and another on Palazzo Tortoli, Torre del Diávolo (Devil’s tower) as well as two Towers Ardinghelli.
To get to the center, you will pass by quaint lanes, mesmerizing views, and alleys that house many medieval buildings.
Imagine yourself walking through cobblestone streets lined with towers that are hundreds of years old. You can feel history all around you as you explore this ancient city – not just from the buildings but also from the people who live here today.
They have deep roots in this land, so they know how to make visitors feel welcome too! From shopping to wine tasting, and just soaking in the views, San Gimignano is perfect for an Italian destination to add to your Tuscany itinerary.
Admire the architecture of San Gimignano
The medieval buildings in San Gimignano are located within the town’s double wall or fortress. These structures reflect the stunning medieval architectural gems with influences of Florentine, Sienese, and Pisan styles from the 12th to the 14th century.
Don’t forget to carry your camera and capture the beautiful ambiance of San Gimignano.
Join a Tuscan Cooking Class with Wine Tasting
A cooking class is a great way to enjoy your day in San Gimignano.
You will spend a fun-filled day (or night) in the company of others learning how to cook authentic Tuscany dishes while bonding over food and wine. Experience life as an Italian villager, complete with a hands-on cooking class that teaches you all about preparing your favorite meals from scratch!
You will really step into a time machine where you will be treated to an authentic Italian meal by the kindest chefs in Tuscany – an in a historic property! You’ll learn how to cook like your great-great-grandparents did, only with better tools and techniques!
Whether it is braising beef cheeks or making handcrafted pasta from scratch – these skills have been passed down through generations. This workshop with wine tasting will be an amazing 3 hours of your one day in San Gimignano itinerary
- Choose from these times: 10:00 am or 05:00 pm
Visit the Cathedral of San Gimignano | Piazza Duomo
The collegiate church of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as the cathedral San Gimignano is a magnificent building that stands at the top on broad steps and was most likely completed around 1056.
The cathedral was expanded in 1460 by architect Giuliano da Maiano. It remained unmodified until the Second World War when damages were repaired.
Do visit the interiors of the Cathedral of San Gimignano, and admire the frescoes inside. It showcases stories from the Old and New Testaments, that were painted by illustrious artists of the 14th-century such as Lippo-Federico Memmi and Bartolo di Fredi.
- Starts at 8 euros (to 16 euros) for adults
- Open from Monday to Friday: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Sunday: 12.30 p.m. – 5 p.m
Just round the corner from Piazza del Duomo is Piazza delle Erbe, where you will find a marketplace and two tall towers.
Check out Palazzo Comunale’s exhibits | Town Hall, Picture Gallery, and Great Tower | Palazzo del Pópolo
The majestic Palazzo Comunale or “palace of commune” was built in the 13th century (1288), styled as a people’s square. This building along with the church is located at the heart of the medieval town, and is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the “Historic Centre of San Gimignano”.
The building is made up of various levels. On the ground floor, you will find a courtyard, which dates back to 1323. It now houses the civic offices of the town council.
The first floor of the Palazzo Comunale is home to a gallery. There is also a Torre Grossa (or a great tower), which was completed in 1300. During this time, it was the highest tower inside of the walled town. Do take the time to climb Torre Grossa while you are there!
The Civic Museum of San Gimignano (Museo Civico or Municipal Art Gallery) is located on the upper floors and is worthy of a visit.
There are frescoes – of Sant’Ivo, Madonna with two saints, Fresco – justice that tramples the lie, and more including the monochrome of Vincenzo Tamagni. Take the time to visit the Palazzo Comunale or the Town Hall and check these historical exhibits.
- 9 euros for adults
- Every day from 10:00 am to 06:00 pm
Check out Torre e Casa Campatelli
The building of Campatelli is an 18th-century structure that features one of the town’s famous medieval towers – Torre e Casa Campatelli.
The residence was once home to high-ranking families in the 19th and 20th centuries. And today Casa Campatelli reconstructs through its furnishings decorating paintings private mementos about traditional Tuscan society as well gives visitors insight into 1000 years worth of history.
Visit the Museums of Torture and the Death Penalty
This pair of San Gimignano museums are a must-see for those who enjoy learning about the history and intricacies behind medieval torture devices. To explore the museums you will need about an hour or so, and it is conveniently located at the center.
The collection here includes actual historic artifacts, such as iron maidens and racks; wax figures that demonstrate how these tools were used to drive out evil spirits from those accused or convicted on charges like witch-hunting during this time period.
The associated Museo della Pena di Morte discusses the death penalty and various means by which execution may take place.
Here, there is more emphasis on the history behind capital punishment; however, it still holds its own share of grisly lethal equipment that would give any museum curator pause for thought before allowing visitors access to these rooms in broad daylight!
- Museo della Tortura: 10 euros for adults
- Museo della Pena di Morte: 10 euros for adults
- Museo della Tortura: Open every day from 10:00 am to 07:00 pm
- Museo della Pena di Morte: Open every day from 10:00 am to 07:00 pm
Hit local stores and cafes
Although a small town, you will find lots of shops and cafes in San Gimignano. We recommend that you browse through these shops – buy souvenirs like leather goods, meats, cheese, and artwork!
You will also love the cute cafes of the historic center of San Gimignano. Order a cappuccino, with a pizza, or enjoy a nice glass of wine with a platter of meat, and cheese. There is also an awesome local winery called the La Marronaia, which is worth a visit!
Walk around the city walls of San Gimignano
Alternately, you can also walk around the city walls (before leaving for the day). With its mighty walls, San Gimignano’s historic center is a spectacular place to wander. You’ll find interesting gates and portcullises built by the Medici family who controlled this town in 15th century Italy- before they were even royalty!
The earlier Porta San Giovanni has an unusual segmented arch-supporting one side of their guardroom while dating back at least as far ago as the 12th century; Matthew Gate dates from 1340 AD or thereabouts with more modern additions added onto it over time including some stone fountains that are still worth stopping for photo opportunities along both sides where you can see how these watering holes would’ve been set up long ago when people looked out.
Extending your trip to San Gimignano Tuscany
If you wish to swap any of the activities above, or plan to extend your visit to San Gimignano, then consider these spots,
Church of Sant’Agostino: Visit the brick church of Sant’Agostino, which is located on the northern side of the old town near Porta San Matteo. Although this Gothic church looks plain from the outside, the Cappella di San Bártolo and its elaborate marble altar are worth a visit. You will also find amazing frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli, Lippo Memmi, and others. This is perfect for art lovers for a visit!
Situated in Piazza Sant’Agostino, Iglesia de Sant’Agostino is the second largest church in San Gimignono. The square is one of San Gimignano’s most interesting ones and is also home to the Church of San Pietro, which is the oldest in town.
It is open from Monday to Friday: 10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. Sunday: 12.30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Vineyard tour with tasting & lunch: Go on a vineyard tour, close to San Gimignano, and enjoy wine tasting. The tour duration is 3 hours, and it includes an elaborate lunch menu. Learn more about this tour here
Vespa Adventure: Join an active Tuscan adventure on a Vespa! This is a 3 hour tour with a guide, where you can drive through the panoramic roads of Tuscany and the Chianti hills, with photo spots.
You will be guided to a winery, near a vineyard between hills roads around San Gimignano, and then treated to an amazing Tuscan lunch! Learn more about this tour here
Torri dei Salvucci – Towers of San Gimignano: We have highlighted some of the important towers of San Gimignano. There are 13 towers that remain today, out of the original 72 towers of the 14th century. When you take a wander around the walls and the center, you will be able to check off almost all of the towers from afar.
Torri dei Salvucci is a set of two towers, built by the Salvucci family. They were built taller than the ruler of San Gimignano’s (the Podestà’s) tower. Today you can climb it, and see the kitchen, bathroom, living room and bedroom.
Museum: San Gimignano 1300
Can you do San Gimignano and Siena a day?
It is possible to explore both San Gimignano and Siena in one day. The driving distance is just 45 minutes, so you can easily spend half a day in Siena (explore the Cathedral, St Caterine sanctuary & Basilica, etc), and then head to San Gimignano for an afternoon of wine, maybe a workshop, and a visit to the Duomo and the Civic Museum.
There are day tours that combine Siena and San Gimignano from Florence, here are a few,
- From Florence: Siena, San Gimignano & Monteriggioni Tour
- From Florence: Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti Day Trip with Lunch
- From Florence: Tuscany Wine Tasting Full-Day Trip
Where to stay in San Gimignano Italy?
San Gimignano makes for an ideal road trip stop in Tuscany. This town is really beautiful, and with so much greenery, and beauty around, we are sure you won’t be disappointed.
Here are our recommendations for accommodation in San Gimignano,
- La Cisterna Hotel: This is beautiful hotel, located pretty close to sightseeing attractions in San Gimignano. You are offered free breakfast, and some of the suites also come with city views.Check prices and availability here
- Hotel Relais La Cappuccina: Hotel Relais La Cappuccina is a 4 star posh property in San Gimignano. It has an outdoor pool, suites with views, and a restaurant. You do have to walk a bit to get to the attractions. Book your stay here
- Antica Dimora: Antica Dimora is a cozy place to call home in San Gimignano. It offers an authentic Tuscan experience and is a family run business. Travelers have said that although expensive, they loved the experience. Parking is available at the residence! Check photos and availability here
San Gimignano Map: What to do in San Gimignano
Additional travel tips: A day in San Gimignano itinerary
Whether you’re a history buff, a wine lover, or just looking for some beautiful scenery, San Gimignano is worth stopping by.
You’ll be able to enjoy both historical monuments and delicious wine from this quaint little town situated on the Via Francigena representing pleasant stops for pilgrims headed towards Rome in medieval times as well present day visitors who want an authentic experience without having too far away traveled!
Yes, it is 10000% worth visiting. This town’s location and historic importance make it an awesome stop for those exploring Tuscany. It has everything that is quintessentially Toscana – wines, modest churches, low-key but history-laden piazzas, and UNESCO Heritage Site with stunning views!
In one day in San Gimignano, you can surely check out its primary landmarks such as the Duomo, wander the Piazza and the historic center, along with attractions at the Town Hall.
As you can see from our itinerary above, your day will have a combination of sites and experiences like San Gimignano cooking class or wine tasting!
So there you have it! These are the best things to do in San Gimignano in one day. This beautiful town in Tuscany was known as “The Manhattan of the Middle Ages,” and it has more than 100 towers that were built during its golden age.
You will love to wander through medieval streets, admire churches and cathedrals, and enjoy some delicious Italian food while you’re there! So don’t wait, add San Gimignano to your Italy bucket list!
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