I missed visiting the Tuscan town of San Gimignano (Pronounced: San Jimi Nya No) on my very first visit to Italy. Since then it was on my mind to see the place where Tea with Mussolini was shot. A picturesque town situated on the river Elsa, San Gimignano is probably visited by anyone who visits Tuscany. Since there are several day tours available from Florence, it is a favorite of many.
San Gimignano is a walled town and 14 towers dominate its skyline. It is surrounded with vineyards and olive groves which enhances the beauty!
Since I mentioned earlier it is an easy day trip, the town is filled with tourists everywhere, in artisan shops, handicraft shops, bars, osterias….You can’t help but get a little put off by the number of tourists.
Especially it’s main piazza that includes cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. There are also several churches such as Church of San Lorenzo, Church of San Bartolo and Church of San Giromlamo in the town if you are interested.
The piazza also has the most faous shop in the town! Dondoli the ice cream maker, known for its delicious gelato and innumerable flavours, makes gelato with regional specialities. There is queue to get this famed gelato but it so is worth it. I tried two flavors of mango and olive and later lavender and hazelnut. All different and delicious!
If you can get a little away from the main piazza you can see the town’s skyline and tiny homes and vicoli (alleys). And who knows you may end up eating at an osteria where you will find locals.
-San Gimignano is an easy day trip from Florence or Siena by bus.
–Trattoria Chiribiri and Bar La Cisterna are good options to eat in the town.
-Several agriturismo in the surrounding areas make great stay options.
–The Vernaccia Museum of Wine has guided tours that tell about the cultivation of wine in the region and includes wine tasting.