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Visiting San Gimignano: Photo Essay

Visiting San Gimignano in Tuscany was one of the best experiences while we were in Italy. These San Gimignano Photos are our favourite out of hundreds.

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Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Visiting San Gimignano was one of the highlights of our Italian adventure last year. I took hundreds of San Gimignano photos and couldn’t get enough of the ancient medieval towers with the incredible Tuscan countryside acting as the canvas.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano Photos: The Towers are seen for miles around, like sentries standing guard over an ancient civilisation.

San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano, or Town of Fine Towers, is a tiny village on a hilltop in the province of Siena, Tuscany, a couple of hours south of Florence. It is world-famous for it’s 14 medieval towers which still stand sentry within the walled town.

During the Middle Ages there used to be 72 towers, some over 50 meters in height, built by the richest families in the town. Much like modern-day Dubai, the families competed to have the tallest towers to demonstrate their power and wealth.

Of course that meant they were a beacon for any marauding Romans from out of town and the village was attacked countless times. Luckily San Gimignano is a UNESCO world heritage site to protect this incredible village forever.

We visited San Gimignano while we were exploring Tuscany by Scooter and could easily have stayed here for more than half a day.

San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano Photos: A Tuscan villa and vineyard outside the San Gimignano city walls.

San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano Photos: Many locals have taken up painting to showcase their beautiful village and sell them in all the tourist shops.

San Gimignano Photos

Visiting San Gimignano: Piazza Cisterna. Just one of the many squares.

San Gimignano Photos

Visiting San Gimignano: The San Gimignano Twin Towers.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Visiting San Gimignano: The narrow cobbled streets are only fit for walking inside the city walls.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano Photos: The locals brought their own chairs to watch over the bustling tourists in the Piazza.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

San Gimignano Photos: Locals resting from the summer sun under the arches.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Photos of San Gimignano: The San Gimignano Towers rise above the small village.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Photos of San Gimignano: One of the many Churches in San Gimignano.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Photos of San Gimignano: Birds eyeview from one of San Gimignano Towers over Tuscany.

Visiting San Gimignano Photos

Photos of San Gimignano: Adela hiking between the ancient towers.

Visiting San Gimignano

Getting to San Gimignano from Florence

San Gimignano is approximately 60 km south of Florence and is relatively easy to get to. To get to San Gimignano from Florence on public transportation, jump on a bus or train from Florence to Poggibonsi. From Poggibonsi you can catch a local bus to San Gimignano.

If arriving by car then you will have to park outside the city walls and explore on foot.

We stayed in Certaldo, which is another medieval village in the Tuscan countryside, and it was only a short train ride to Poggibonsi.

The other alternative is to take a tour from Florence to San Gimignano. They will pick you up from Florence and show you the sights around the rest of Tuscany too.

Extra Travel Tip: San Gimignano Gelato

Don’t forget to buy a delicious gelato from Sergio who is the master ice cream maker at the world famous Gelateria di Piazza. It is located in the central Piazza della Cisterna in San Gimignano and will be easy to spot due to the horrendous lines out the door.

Included in his locally sourced flavours are  Crema di Santa Fina (cream with saffron and pine nuts), Champelmo (pink grapefruit and sparkling wine), and Dolceamaro (cream with aromatic herbs).

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58 Comments

58 Comments

  1. kami

    February 25, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    San Gimignano has been on my bucket list for years and these pictures made me wanna go there even more! Guess I should look for some cheap flights to Italy soon 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      February 25, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      The whole of Tuscany, and actually Italy, is stunning! Book a flight right now to San Gimignano 😉

      • kami

        February 25, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        I know, I’ve been there many times, in Tuscany as well 🙂 It’s actually one of my fave countries 🙂 just San Gimignano has never been on my way *off to look for flights* 😉

  2. Jennifer

    February 25, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    San Gimignano is very pretty. We were just there a few weekends ago and stayed just outside the city walls. Sadly and much to my surprise, many of the wineries located along the San Gimignano Wine Road close up for a few months between November and April. We’ll just have to go back!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 25, 2013 at 4:25 PM

      I never knew the closed either. I guess we were there in June though 🙂 Going back to visit the wineries in San Gimignano sounds like a good excuse to me!

  3. ed

    February 25, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Che bellisime foto! And it made me speak in Italian…:)

  4. Nicole @ Suitcase Stories

    February 25, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    These are really great photos guys! We are just planning our Italy trip as we speak so it looks like San Gimignano just made the itinerary!

  5. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    February 25, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Ahh… Italy!! I don’t think there’s any other country that makes me yearn to just be part of it. The colours in these pics are amazing – check out that blue sky!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      It was a gorgeous day! We felt the same about Italy too. Their lifestyle was even more laid back than NZ which suited me 😉

  6. Larissa

    February 26, 2013 at 12:01 AM

    We haven’t been to San Gimignano for several years, but it’s nice to see that it’s still just as beautiful. It is especially magical at night when the streets are almost deserted. OK, looking up flights to Italy now. . . 😉

    • Cole Burmester

      February 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM

      Haha how did you get on booking flights 😉 We loved San Gimignano and it would have been great to stay there overnight.

  7. Kristy @ Working Visa USA

    February 26, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    I love the birds eye view of San Gimignano Towers over Tuscany. It is very pretty!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 26, 2013 at 8:47 AM

      Cheers Kristy 🙂 There were some spectacular views from up there!

  8. Teresa

    February 26, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    I was in San Gimignano a few years ago and I loved it, especially when all the day trippers left. I went by train from Lucca and then caught the bus from Poggibonsi. I love the photo of the locals resting under the arches.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 26, 2013 at 8:48 AM

      We were just sitting down having gelato when all the old locals started coming in. I guess they were escaping the heat too! They were all laughing and catching up even though they probably do it every day 🙂

  9. Rene Rotterdam

    February 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    San Gimignano is so nice for a holiday, we are now several times and it suits us fine highly recommended

  10. wanderingeducators

    February 26, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    what gorgeous colors- i Love the sun and shadows!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 8:24 AM

      It was during the middle of the day so I really wish we had been there during sunrise or sunset! Would have been spectacular 😉

  11. Laurel- Capturing la Vita

    February 26, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Bellissima! Some of THE most beautiful photos I have seen of this magical village! San Gimignano is one of the stops on my Tuscan tours, I will surely share your post with my travelers!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 8:23 AM

      It is such a beautiful area of the world. And thank you so much. We would love it if you shared them with your travellers 🙂 Perhaps you could showcase the post on your site?

  12. D.J. - The World of Deej

    February 26, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    Great photos. How I haven’t visited Tuscany yet is beyond me…

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 8:22 AM

      I guess there just aren’t any Disneyland hotels to entice you 😉 Maybe you should pitch a villa review one summer!

  13. Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    February 27, 2013 at 8:53 AM

    Boo, I was in Florence just a month ago! I’ve always loved medieval and towns, simply because nothing in America is that old! I was enchanted by Besalu, Split and St. Paul de Vence, and love that everything in Spain is crazy old.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      We feel the same since New Zealand is even younger than America! I spent a few days in Besalu! Such a fantastic little village 😉

  14. Shalu Sharma

    February 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    San Gimignano seems like a place I would love to visit. I love the photo collections. I like the photo where the locals seems to be resting, that’s what I call chilling out.

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      Not a bad place to rest their feet that’s for sure!

  15. Julika

    February 27, 2013 at 10:18 AM

    Gorgeous! It looks like an Italian dream come true!
    It’s been just way too long since I’ve visited Italy!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 27, 2013 at 12:00 PM

      San Gimignano is one of the most beautiful villages we have ever been to!

  16. Cheryl Howard

    February 28, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Your photos are beautiful! I’d love to visit this town. 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      February 28, 2013 at 9:18 AM

      Do it 😉 San Gimignano is well worth the trip!

  17. Laurence

    February 28, 2013 at 8:41 AM

    I’ve visited all sorts of parts of Italy, but somehow never found the time to relax under the Tuscan sun. Looks like that’s going to have to change!

    • Cole Burmester

      February 28, 2013 at 9:16 AM

      There is a gorgeous B&B/Hostel up the road from San Gimignano in a village called Certaldo. Would be perfect for you guys.

  18. Arti

    March 1, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Seems like an absolutely magical place! Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful pictures with us 🙂

  19. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    March 1, 2013 at 5:00 PM

    No one does an ancient stone mountain town like Italy. And thanks for the learning about all those towers.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 1, 2013 at 5:40 PM

      It is amazing that even after all these years the towers of San Gimignano are still standing!

  20. Lesley Peterson

    March 5, 2013 at 3:05 AM

    Fantastic photos! It’s remarkable what they managed to build with the technology they had, and that the towers haven’t sunk or leaned over the centuries.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 5, 2013 at 8:23 AM

      There were a lot more towers in San Gimignano in the past so I guess those must have fallen down at some stage! Most of them looked like they now had metal rods supporting them through the walls etc too. Really hope that in years to come we don’t lose these amazing buildings!

  21. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    March 5, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    I liked San Gimignano way more than Florence. Lots of character and winding narrow streets.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 5, 2013 at 8:20 PM

      Florence was great, if you didn’t do the touristy things haha. But San Gimignano felt like how Italy should feel 🙂

  22. Jenna

    March 7, 2013 at 7:20 PM

    I went to San Gimignano a long time ago, climbed one of the towers for a winter view of Tuscany, and loved the day I spent there. I’ve heard since that it’s too crowded with tourists, but maybe that’s more a problem in the summer. Great photos!! Makes me want to go back.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 7, 2013 at 8:48 PM

      Definitely is busy in summer but if you are there early in the morning or after 3 or 4pm then there are only locals about. All the tourists arrive for 2 hours around lunchtime on tour buses.

  23. Ruth (Tanama Tales)

    March 10, 2013 at 4:43 AM

    This place looks surreal. I have heard about it but haven’t seen more gorgeous photos.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 11, 2013 at 2:37 PM

      Thanks Ruth 🙂 Easy place to photograph when it is beautiful!

  24. Jade Johnston - OurOyster.com

    March 13, 2013 at 12:33 AM

    I think I visited all the wrong parts of Italy when I was there – I seemed to have missed all these small picturesque places

    • Cole Burmester

      March 18, 2013 at 9:15 AM

      Tuscany was filled with small towns and we could easily have spent 2 weeks going to each one. Definitely not enough time to visit them all!

  25. Stephen S.

    March 20, 2013 at 4:24 AM

    These photos kicked my wanderlust for Italy into overdrive! Breath-taking photos of the landscape.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 20, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      Cheers Stephen. You will love Italy if you manage to get there this summer before the Mongol Rally!

  26. Thomas Dembie

    April 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Love the photos and insights! I’ll be visiting Tuscany in July (using Florence as a base) and will definitely visit San Gimignano.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 3, 2013 at 8:01 AM

      You will love it Thomas! Get a scooter for a day and go exploring on all the back roads 🙂

  27. Karisa

    April 22, 2013 at 11:09 AM

    Beautiful! I was fortunate enough to visit San Gimignano during the winter of 2010 as the town was decorated for the holidays. I enjoyed wandering the walled city as evening approached. I wasn’t able to climb any of the town’s famous towers, so I really liked your picture from way up high! 🙂 I agree with you-you could spend much longer than just half a day at San Gimignano!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 22, 2013 at 1:42 PM

      Winter time would definitely be magical in San Gimignano but I think I would prefer spring 🙂 Great to hear you loved it too though Karisa!

  28. Elle Croft

    May 28, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Oh, wow, these photos are just breathtaking!
    I will be in Florence later this year and I’m looking for some places to head on a day trip from there – San Gimignano has just shot to the top of my list!

  29. Alexandra

    October 22, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    ITALY!!! Oh how I love Italy. I haven’t ever made it to Tuscany but if it is anything like Umbria I might never leave.

  30. Emily

    December 9, 2014 at 11:32 PM

    Beautiful photos. Can I ask, are these the originals or have they been enhanced?

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Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

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Here’s a quick list of places to possibly include in your next European itinerary. 2018 is the year of the underrated vacation spot in our humble opinions, and we want to honor it.

Basque Country:

This place is in this author’s humble opinion easily and hands-down the most underrated little corner of Europe.

And honestly, between the two, the Spanish side of Basque country is going to cost you probably around 50% what the French side will, and most people in the know will agree that the Spanish side is at least 100% more fun!

 

Canary Islands:

There are two ways to do the Canaries: simply fly in and enjoy them, or treat yourself and a loved one to a romantic Canary Island cruise.

Best time to visit is definitely either spring or fall, as it does get quite cold in the winter and quite hot in the summer. If you are a beach bum, on the other hand, summer is best (but there will be a lot more tourists in the summer).

 

Siena, Italy:

This city is often overshadowed by Rome, Florence, and Venice, but it actually is arguably the best-preserved city in Italy and has the best historic city center. The cuisine here is absolutely to die for, and you won’t have to pay inflated tourist prices like you will in the aforementioned places either!

If you can, try to make it for the famous Palio, a horse race that has been going on literally for centuries.

 

Brussels:

Just as Siena is overshadowed by other bigger Italian cities, Brussels tends to stand forgotten next to London and Paris. But Brussels has key elements of the two metropolises, as well as its own unique and delicious cuisine, its own beer (considered by more than a few experts to be the worlds best), and easily the worlds best chocolate, both in solid and drinkable form. Belgian chocolate will seriously change your life forever.

 

Istria, Croatia:

This is one of the world’s best summer beach destinations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and by Western European standards, almost outrageously cheap.

Hipster tourists are starting to come in and drive prices up, but it still remains a great bargain by any standards, and most importantly, it’s a bargain without really having to give up any of our beloved amenities.

 

Budapest:

Budapest could be called the poor man’s Prague, but in reality that name isn’t very fair. For one thing, Hungarian culture and Czech culture are actually extremely different (for one thing, the Hungarian language isn’t in the same family as the rest of Europe, it’s its own thing completely, like the Basque language).

Prague is gorgeous, but it’s getting almost as expensive as the rest of Europe too, and honestly Budapest’s history and culture is much more interesting, especially for the seasoned traveller.

 

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Europe

Top Things to Do When Visiting Frankfurt

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Frankfurt is the financial heart of Germany, located in the state of Hesse, and on the banks of the river Main. The city is known as a gateway to Europe, with the large Frankfurt International Airport being a popular hub for both commercial and private jets. However, the city itself offers plenty for visitors and makes a great place for a vacation.

 

Main Tower 

Frankfurt is known for its modern skyline and the best place to take in the view is from Main Tower. Named for the river that runs through the city, you can take an elevator up to the 650-foot high viewing platform to see some amazing views across the city.

There is also a bar and restaurant there offering an international menu.

 

Goethe House

One of the most famous people from Frankfurt is the writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who is one of Germany’s most important authors. His original home was destroyed during World War II but has been carefully restored including original furniture, paintings, and family books. It is now a museum where you can even see the desk where he wrote ‘The Sorrows of Young Werther’.

 

 

 Romerberg

The Romerberg or ‘Roman Mountain’ is the original heart of the city, where the first trade fairs were held back in the 13th century. It has been restored to look as it did when it was first built so there are many stunning buildings there. Most notable is the Rathaus, or City Hall, which dates from 1405 and is surrounded by half-timbered houses.

 

St Paul’s Church 

St Paul’s Church, or Paulskirche, was built in the early 1800s but is notable not for its history as a church but as the cradle of German democracy. It was here that the first freely elected German parliament met in 1848 and held political meetings. It is now used for exhibitions and special events.

 

 

Museum Embankment

Museumsufer, or Museum Embankment, is the location for many of the best museums in Frankfurt including the German Film Museum and the Städel Museum which is home to many works of art from the old masters. The largest flea market in Frankfurt is also held here and takes place every Saturday.

 

 

Zeil 

Zeil is a pedestrianized zone in the center of Frankfurt and a popular shopping destination,  known as the Fifth Avenue of Germany. Zeil features modern shops, a 10-storey shopping center, and plenty of small, independent stores where you can find something unique.

Want to explore Frankfurt and visit its most famous sights? Then charter a private jet so you can travel to the city in luxury. Contact Air Charter Service to get a quote for your private jet charter today and kick off your vacation to Frankfurt in style.

 

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Asia

Gambling Around The World

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Gambling in 2017 has many different facets, some of them new, some of them going back literally thousands of years.

Some of us like to just stay home and play online, look for the best casino bonuses and have a great time from the comfort of our home sweet homes. And there is certainly nothing wrong with that.

But maybe you are travelling and you would like to check out the local casinos. We are going to include a quick list of the world’s hot spots for gambling in case you come near one of these places, or just get the brick and mortar casino bug and want to check them out.

 

Monte Carlo:

This is perfect for people who want to combine the classic gaming experience with spectacular views of the Mediterranean. Definitely you have a history and a tradition here not to be felt anywhere else. This place is not cheap, but it’s worth every penny.

 

Aruba:

This one may surprise you, as people don’t think of it as a gambling destination, but it’s one of the world’s best, with 24 world-class facilities, and of course, everything else to cater to tourists to a T.

It’s also worth mentioning that most of these destinations are also beach destinations, but out of all of them, Aruba’s beaches are hands-down the best.

 

Macau:

Once owned by the Portuguese, in today’s world, Macau is part of China, but considered a special administrative district, in the same fashion as Hong Kong. Since a long time ago, it has been a famous destination for gamblers, and gambling and tourism make up a whopping 50% of its economy.

 

Las Vegas:

Las Vegas is all about big! It has the biggest concentration of casinos (over 75 next to each other on the strip), some of the world’s biggest casinos, and biggest hotels. There is no doubt that this still remains the premier destination for people who are serious gamblers, no matter where in the world they may come from. No self-respecting high roller lives his or her life without at least one stop in Vegas.

 

Atlantic City:

This is the smallest of the destinations in this list, but not to be easily discounted. Many people prefer the relaxed vibe of Atlantic City compared to other destinations, and if you live anywhere between New York and DC, the proximity is a huge draw. And of course, the famous boardwalk is still there, and still as nice as ever in season.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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