San Gimignano, Toscana, Italy
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About San Gimignano
- Village: San Gimignano
- Region: Toscana
- Province: Siena
- Zona: Central Italy
- Coordinates: 43°28′0″N 11°3′0″E
- Surface: 138 km ²
- Population: 7 806 (by 31/12/2010)
- Patron Saint: St. Geminianus Saint Fina
- Saint Day: 31 January
- Web site: Official Web Site
Everybody being there at least once will let you know that San Gimignano is one of the most fascinated villages not only in Toscana, not only in Italy but on the world.
For its typical medieval architecture in the historic center and its particular fifteen medieval towers in 1990 UNESCO included the village in the World Heritage Sites.
Situated on the top of the hill the village of San Gimignano could easily seen from very far and the view is really spectacular. Surely San Gimignano was built on the place inhabited by the Etruscans certainly, at least the III-rd century BC, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds (mostly tombs) in the surrounding area. The hill was chosen for strategic issues, certainly, being dominant
San Gimignano was built on the hill ( 334 m high ) inhabited by the Etruscans certainly, at least the third century BC, as evidenced by the numerous archaeological finds (mostly tombs) in the surrounding area. The hill was chosen for strategic issues, certainly, being dominant in Val d'Elsa. The town increased in wealth and developed greatly during the Middle Ages thanks to the "Via Francigena" the trading and pilgrim's route that crossed it. 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. There are 14th century paintings of the Siena's School to be seen and 15th century paintings of the Florentine School.
San Gimignano have long and interesting history that it is recommended to read something about it before to visit the village.
What to see in San Gimignano?
The Towers - Symbol of the Power (Le Torre)
San Gimignano is especially famous for fifteen medieval towers that still stand out on its landscape, which have earned him the nickname of Manhattan of the Middle Ages. From 72 towers and tower houses existing in the heyday of the City, it remained twenty-five in 1580 and today there are at about fourteen towers. The oldest is Rognosa Tower, which is 51 meters high, while the highest is the Torre del Podestà, also known as the Torre Grossa with 54 meters high. A regulation of 1255 forbade private citizens to build the tallest towers of the Torre del Podestà even though the two of the most important families Ardinghelli and Salvucci were not able to build towers higher than the tower "Big" one and their towers are a little lower.
How to go to San Gimignano?
- By Train
San Gimignano has no train station but you could use the train to Poggibonsi (labelled "Poggibonsi-S.G.") and then to get a bus from Poggibonsi train station to San Gimignano. These buses are not so expensive and very regular, leave in every 30-40 minutes. Nearby the station you could ask for information, schedules and tickets at the tourist information office which is located ahead toward the right as you walk out of the train station.
There are direct trains from Firenze (Florence) to Poggibonsi but they are not so frequent. In this case you could make many connections via Empoli.
For more information visit the Italian Railway web site.
- By Bus
San Gimignano is easily reachable from Florence or Siena but you have to change buses in Poggibonsi.
Buses leave from Firenze (Florence)'s bus station (next to the train station) hourly, and take 1.25 to 2 hours.
From Siena there are 75 minute buses rides (5 buses a day).
Volterra has 4 buses a day that takes 2 hours and you should change it in Colle di Val d'Elsa.
Sunday buses are fewer and more crowded.
- By Car
In is a good idea to travel by car to feel the spirit of Toscana (Tuscany). But take in consideration that you cannot drive inside the village. Outside the walls of San Gimignano. The most close parking lot is Parcheggio Montemaggio outside Porta San Giovanni but usually it is filling very fast. There is another one parking on the side of the road going down from the turnabout.
Howsoever remember that San Gimignano is crowd of people and cars in the weekends and especially during official feasts so it is very, very hard to park your car. In these case you should leave your car long the paths to San Gimignano and you should walk for kilometers to the village. It is recommended to visit San Gimignano on the days different from holidays days.
- By Air
There are any airports nearby San Gimignano but you could use the most close to Firenze (Florence) or to Pisa.
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Map of San Gimignano