Day trip to San Gimignano Tuscany from Florence

San Gimignano Tuscany view from a distanceWe visited San Gimignano as part of a day trip to the Tuscan countryside from Florence. San Gimignano rises on a hill (334m high) dominating the Elsa Valley with its towers. It is a UNESCO heritage listed Tuscan village that adds to the charm of the Tuscany region.

The trip was part of a day tour of The Tuscan contryside including Siena and the Chianti region.

Having seen our fair share of old villages over the last few weeks, with cobblestone streets and Duomos we were a little sceptical about visiting San Gimignano, however its charm immediately embraced us. Far from the tourist haunt we were expecting, we found a quiet hamlet where the residents happily went on their way with their daily living, almost oblivious to the beauty that surrounded them.

San Gimignano produce vendor on streets

This was evident with the fruit and vegetable vendor that set up his truck in one of the squares. High quality produce sold straight from the farm off the back of the truck to the residents.

San Gimignano Tuscany streets

The narrow streets wound around the remaining towers that dominate the cityscape with shops housed within.

Once the seat of a small Etruscan village of the Hellenistic period (200-300 BC) it began its life as a town in the 10th century taking its name from the Holy Bishop of Modena, St. Gimignano, who is said to have saved the village from the barbarian hordes.

San Gimignano Tuscany Ristoronte view over Tuscan hills

In 1348 San Gimignano’s population was drastically reduced by the Black Death Plague throwing the city into a serious crisis which eventually led to its submission to Florence in 1353. In the following centuries San Gimignano overcame its decline and isolation when its beauty and cultural importance together with its agricultural heritage were rediscovered. The construction of the towers dates back to the 11th and 13th centuries. The architecture of the city was influenced by Pisa, Siena and Florence.

The People’s Palace or new Podesta’s Palace, which is today the home of the Town Council is situated on the left hand side of the Duomo square. It is one of the most important monuments of San Gimignano, being both the home of the Civic Museum and rich in paintings by the Florentine and Sienese schools (dating from the 13th century). On the right hand side of the Palace rises the high “Great Tower” erected in 1300.

wandering the San Gimignano Tuscany streets

Once the city housed 40 plus towers but time and decay has seen the number drop dramatically. Overall the visit was worth it but in reality an hour wandering the streets with a coffee and biscotti overlooking the valley below should just about do it for most people.

About Rob Fraser 803 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, many years ago. He has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive.

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