Tuscany Day Trip | San Gimignano
Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning and came to finish this post... but realized that I had actually posted it live yesterday half finished. Oops! Well, the notes are now removed and the actual links and comments are available now.
The last time we spent August in Tuscany was our first summer living abroad- nearly five years ago! That summer, Tyler & I spent our days here bumping around the hillside roads in a beatup FIAT Panda and loved to venture out into all the small villages and towns nearby that we could get to in the day.
Not only did I make this video of our trips (that I watch on bad days far more than I'm proud to admit), but I also started a little blogging series on Tuscany Day Trips. Since I won't be making a video this time around, I thought the least that I could do is continue my day trip series.
If you're staying in or around Florence, San Gimignano is an easy place to go for a day trip. You can either venture out to this small medeival town through a bust tour that leaves from Florence, like this one or drive yourself in a rent car. The drive from Florence is just about an hour.
I'd go early in the day, as parking is limited and the sooner you get there- the less time you'll spend going up and down the roads around the town in search of a spot to park. (We went at lunch time and it took forever!)
Regardless of the limited parking and the hot sunny August weather, we had a marvelous day. This charming town is the perfect mix of Italian culture, history and ease put into one spot. It's location between Florence and Siena make it an easy destination regardless of where you are staying. So whether you spend the day exploring some of the 14 medieval tours that are still standing or simply wandering from eatery to eatery to find the best scenic views- you'll be inevitably charmed by San Gimignano.
RICCAPIZZA | Since it took so long to find a parking spot, by the time we reached San Gimignano, the natives were fairly restless. We decided to forgo the trauma that would come from us all enduring a long lunch somewhere and, instead, jumped in the quick-moving queue at PizzaRicco and grabbed a giant box of pizza for lunch.
GELATERIA DONDOLI | This gelateria, convienently placed in Piazza della Cisterna, is a famous stop for most tourists to pass through San Gimignano. With creative flavors like olive and champelmo (champagne and pink grapefuit) make it more than your normal ice cream stop. It's definitely worth waiting in the quick-moving line to try a cone for yourself.
TRATTORIA CHIRIBIRI | If you're looking for perfect Tuscan dishes- think big plates of Tuscan meats and cheeses, white beans cooked for hours in a stew-like tomato base and thick bowls of riboliita- all in an atmosphere that fits the 14th century village surroundings, look no further. This place won't disappoint.
PIAZZA DELLA CISTERNO | This main square in the town is named after the well (or "cistern") that sits in the middle. You'll find this is the main deposit of visitors from the town that have entered through the main city entrance, Porta San Giovanni. From Piazza della Cisterna, you'll be at a major axis point for reaching the rest of the city.
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Has anyone stayed in San Gimignano? Would love to hear some recommendations for great places to spend the night there to get the full experience.... after all the tourists like us have left for the day!
*images original to Aspiring Kennedy