July 17, 2011, 09:01 PM
5/6 nights in San Gimignano. Ist time to Tuscany.Is this too long?
Hi, planning our 1st visit to Tuscany in August. Flying into Pisa and hoping to hire car from there and staying in San Gimignano for 5/6 nights. Using this area as our base and hoping to tour around the area. Is this too long in one spot or can anyone sugguest maybe another place to stay as well as S Gimignano. We really want to stay out in country areas rather than stay in large towns or cities. Thankyou.
July 18, 2011, 11:20 AM
San Gimignano - 6 nights itinerary of Tuscany
Ciao Colleen and welcome to our Forum!
Tuscany is a beautiful place, and you’ll be impressed by its beauty, especially as you are visiting it for the 1st time
Renting a car is actually the best way to tour Tuscany, especially if you wish to visit medieval hill top towns like San Gimignano, that cannot be reached by train.
Driving along the winding and scenic roads of Tuscany can be a very pleasing experience, that will give you the opportunity to appreciate the region’s beauty and its wonderful countryside, including its lesser known corners
On this article you can find very useful information on moving around Tuscany by car, and here all you need to know about renting a car in Tuscany, that you can comfortably reserve online before departing.
San Gimignano is really amazing, probably one the most famous medieval villages of all Italy.
It is an incredibly and perfectly preserved medieval town, with its unique skyline of towers pointing to the sky.
Walking through its narrow streets and alleys you’ll get the impression to have come back right to the Middle Ages!
Truly an experience
San Gimignano is a perfect base to tour around the area, but it’s a tiny village and can be visited rather quickly. Since Tuscany is large and really has so many things to visit, I suggest you split your holiday and stay at least in another place.
So, I suggest you start basing yourself in San Gimignano for about 3-4 nights. While here you could start a number of day trips, first of all to visit Florence (at about 1 hour’s drive) and the Chianti region south of Florence.
The beautiful Chianti villages, like Greve in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti and Radda in Chianti, are all easily reachable in less than 1 hour’ s driving.
Chianti is famous all over the world for its superb wine production, so you may also enjoy taking some wine tours.
As you prefer staying in country areas, far from the hustle and bustle of city centers, I recommend staying at Casolare di Libbiano or at Borgo della Meliana, both very good properties with fantastic surroundings in the countryside near San Gimignano.
Another good option might be the typical Tuscan farmhouse Il Cellese, east of San Gimignano, in the lovely village of Castellina in Chianti.
I also suggest a visit to the mighty Volterra, lesser known than San Gimignano but equally beautiful; famous for its alabaster manifacturing. High on a rocky promontory, the city is typically medieval and has many lovely and charming shops, selling a wide range of local products.
For the rest of your holiday, I suggest you move to the south of Siena, in the wonderful Val d’Orcia region. While here you should absolutely visit Siena, Monteriggioni and all the lovely villages of the Orcia valley, such as Montalcino, famous for its Brunello wine, the ideal city of Pienza, famous for it tasty pecorino cheese, and the beautiful Montepulciano, with its elegant Renaissance palaces and the outstanding Piazza Grande.
In the area, I highly recommend staying at Podere Cunina or at San Giovanni in Poggio, both beautiful Tuscan farmhouses with splendid and scenic countryside surroundings; perfect for a relaxing and unforgettable vacation!
Finally, some useful tips and suggestions for a 7 day itinerary to Tuscany, with a list of all the places you absolutely must visit.
In case you need further suggestions, feel free to post again at anytime
Enjoy planning your trip to Tuscany!
Ciao from Florence.
Last edited by Elena; July 18, 2011 at 11:30 AM.
July 19, 2011, 10:03 PM
Elena , thank you so much for all the wonderful information. Is Pienza much bigger than Montepulciano? Would days be enough to do all of this at a leisurely pace? Should we drive south 1st and then make our way up to S. Gimignano
Hope driving in Tuscany is not like Amalfi Coast. They are crazy drivers there. Many thanks again.
July 20, 2011, 11:07 AM
Pienza is actually much smaller than Montepulciano and both are relatively small towns. You can visit them both in one day in a leisurely fashion: spend the morning in Pienza then continue on to Montepulciano for the rest of the day. If you do break up your stay into two parts, one near San Gimignano and the other in the Val d'Orcia, it would make visiting both easier since you'd have a shorter drive back at the end of the day. You could do southern Tuscany first, if you can arrange the dates well with your accommodation - that way you'll be closer to Pisa at the end of your holiday.
Driving in Tuscany is much more relaxing than along the Amalfi coast - Italian drivers in general are pretty aggressive and they do like to tailgate but since most of the roads in Tuscany are 2 lane country roads, the drive in itself is much more relaxing. Distances are small but the drive takes a while because of this - all a part of the charm of Tuscany in any case!
July 20, 2011, 11:09 AM
Tour of Tuscany
You are welcome!
As you are flying into Pisa and may be tired, I suggest you first make your way to San Gimignano.
Actually, 6 nights in Tuscany are quite enough to visit the must-see destinations at a leisurely pace.
You might dedicate a whole day to San Gimignano without being in a hurry; visiting its museums and attractions, like the fine frescoes of the Palazzo del Popolo, the Torture Museum, and the new amazing attraction San Gimignano 1300, that reproduces the city in miniature as it was in the Middle Ages.
Only in case you are not tired, you may also include a brief visit to Volterra on the same day.
Then, one or two days should be dedicated to the wonderful city of Florence and its many sights and masterpieces of art.
You may find some tips on Florence’s top sights at this link.
The next day should be spent in Chianti visiting its lovely medieval villages and taking some wine tours. I suggest this useful one day itinerary in Chianti.
For a very comfortable visit to the area, you may also opt for this Tour of the Chianti Region and Wine Tasting.
Once you have made your way to the south of Tuscany, you can comfortably visit the main villages and attractions of the Val d’Orcia: Montalcino and the Abbey of Sant'Antimo, Pienza, and Montepulciano.
Montepulciano is bigger than Pienza, that is instead quite small. You could visit both towns in one day.
This beautiful part of Tuscany is as if suspended in time. Life can still goes slowly here, so you’ll enjoy a very relaxing vacation!
Don’t worry, driving in Tuscany is not like in the Amalfi Coast. I’ve been to the Amalfi Coast recently, the roads are incredibly narrow and the drivers are indeed crazy
With just some exceptions, all Tuscan roads are very good and large.
Do not hesitate to contact us again at anytime
Have a nice day.