San Gimignano as a Base to explore Tuscany in Italy
Tuscany is on your wish list as your next destination for a dream holiday. Where is a great location to use as a base to visit and explore Tuscany?
I’ve dedicated many posts on the blog to what is the best base to stay in Tuscany, and I give several options, from Chianti and the Val d’Orcia in the countryside to larger art towns like Florence or Siena, up to smaller hill towns like Cortona or Montepulciano. Choosing a destination rather than another depends on the type of vacation you’re looking for.
Any place I suggest can be perfect for a great holiday in Italy; so just choose the one that most suits your needs
San Gimignano medieval village
Another fantastic destination in Tuscany I highly recommend to use as a base is the scenic medieval village of San Gimignano, in the province of Siena, southwest of Florence.
San Gimignano, UNESCO World Heritage Site, has its main characteristic in its slender towers and peculiar architecture gives its visitor the sensation to live in the Middle Ages. Its small historical center is a real art jewel that retains all the charm of a bygone era.
San Gimignano is actually a fairytale village standing on a hill overlooking a marvelous countryside and enjoying enchanting vistas.
There are a lot of things to see in San Gimignano, from great works of art, beautiful frescoes, wonderful churches and interesting museums, to excellent food, wine and local products, including Vernaccia white wine, saffron, and one of the best gelato ice-cream of Italy!
There are many good reasons to choose San Gimignano a base in Tuscany, and it should be on your list of the must see visits of Tuscany, being one of the most beautiful villages of Italy itself.
Day Trips from San Gimignano
The location of San Gimignano in the scenic countryside of the Val d’Elsa between Florence and Siena makes a perfect starting point to visit some of the most attractive destinations in Tuscany. The use of a car is recommended to move around. Let’s see what are the best day trips having San Gimignano as your home base with the approximate car distance:
- Certaldo (20 minutes) is famous not only for being the birthplace of Giovanni Boccaccio but also for its great charm: the feeling of stepping back in time to the Middle Ages. A visit not to be missed!
- Volterra (35 minutes), famous for its alabaster manufacturing, is one of the villages to be discovered especially thanks to its Etruscan origins
- Colle di Val d’Elsa (20 minutes) offers a beautiful view of the surrounding hills, full of olive trees and vines. Famous for its crystal manufacturing.
- Monteriggioni (30 minutes) a very tiny village frozen in time really worth a visit for its incredible massive circle of medieval walls and bastions.
- Siena (45 minutes) the wonderful medieval town of the Palio, boasting one of the most beautiful piazzas in the world!
- Florence (55 minutes) beautiful in every aspect, art, culture, architecture, fashion shops and much more.
- Chianti and its charming hill towns (1 hour) probably the most well known area of Tuscany for its scenic landscape and its fine wines
- Pisa (1 hour and 20 minutes) the unique town in the world to have a miracle of architecture: Piazza dei Miracoli
- Lucca (1 hour and half) small and enchanting medieval walled town with a fantastic walk on the walls and a lovely town center full of charming shops
- Cortona (1 hour and half) irresistible small town atop a hill with a gorgeous vista
- Montalcino (1 hour and 20 minutes) and other stunning villages of the splendid Val d’Orcia Natural Park south of Siena
- Montepulciano (1 hour and half) an incredibly beautiful town with a stunning panorama, perfect Renaissance palaces, nice shops and great restaurants.
As for where to stay in San Gimignano, there are many chic and special properties to stay, both in its town center and in the surrounding area.