Our third day of our mini Tuscan adventure saw us explore the beautiful medieval town of San Gimignano. And what an incredible place this is!
Our hotel was a 20 minute walk from the old town, so after breakfast and a morning swim we walked in to explore the sites! Our day started by visiting the many unique shops along Via San Matteo – demonstrating excellent displays of local wine, cheeses and meats. Heaven! (Jonny had to keep reminding me we wouldn’t be able to bring it all back on the plane).
We then decided to stop in Piazza del Duomo for some lunch at Pizza Focacce. I enjoyed an excellent Tagliatelle al Ragu, whilst Jonny enjoyed a Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni. The portion sizes were perfect for lunch (just a small bowl of pasta) and the location of the restaurant was ideal for people watching.
After building up an appetite we climbed San Gimignano’s tallest tower – the Torre Grossa, not quite as narrow as the Torre del Mangia in Siena, but just as enchanting. You can enter the tower from the Palazzo Comunale for €9.00 per person, opening times and ticket prices can be found here.
Once we made it to the top (after hitting our heads on the entrance to the roof), we were knocked back by the strong winds (thank goodness I wasn’t wearing a skirt!). The views from the top were amazing – we were stood high amongst other medieval towers and could see out across the rolling hills and lined vineyards of Tuscany. Despite the walled surroundings that were a metre high, there were no other barriers and it did feel a little nerve-racking, especially with the strong winds! We got some pictures and took in our surrounding before heading back down to the square.
The rest of the afternoon was spent exploring the cobbled streets and shops of San Gimignano. The Piazza della Cisterna is the most beautiful square in the town and my favourite area to soak up the atmosphere. There is a well in the centre of the square, built in 1273, which is now a place for locals and tourists to sit and enjoy the surroundings. It’s definitely worth visiting the square at night – when the medieval buildings and towers are impressively lit up.
The square is also home to the famous Gelateria Dondoli ice cream shop; – Jonny returned here about 4 times throughout the weekend (he recommends the white chocolate ice cream!). Despite the small size of the town I could easily have spent a couple of days exploring this romantic location.
We ended the day by exploring the Rocca di Montestaffolli, originally a castle built in 1353. It’s a beautiful part of the town, with olive tree filled gardens and home to the Vernaccia di San Gimignano Wine Experience, with a fantastic terrace overlooking the town.
Just before sunset, we climbed up the only remaining turret of the Rocca di Montestaffoli and were welcomed with breathtaking views over San Gimignano. We stayed here to watch the incredible sun set over the Tuscan hills and felt extremely lucky. This weekend really couldn’t get much better.
Before returning to our hotel, we enjoyed a lovely dinner at Il Trovatore. If you like meat, this is the place to go – the BBQ is amazing! We then made our way back to the hotel for a game of cards on the terrace. Do I have to leave?
If you do one thing during your time in Tuscany – please visit San Gimignano!