Connect with us

Europe

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.

Published

on

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).

Continue Reading
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?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Europe

Tips for Making Any Overseas Trip a Romantic One

Published

on

Vacations are a great way to leave our everyday lives behind to spend some stress free time with the one we love. Travel in itself can be quite romantic but there are definitely ways you can spice up your holidays even more.

Follow these helpful tips to make sure your romantic holiday gets off on the right foot and continues to head down the tunnel of love and passion. You can easily turn any part of your travels into a special romantic affair.

Choosing the Right Destination

A romantic trip starts with selecting the right destination. There are definitely cities and regions which are much more prone to sparking romance than others. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but generally destinations such as popular European cities, beach getaways, Asian resorts, luxury ski resorts, or tropical islands make for a good choice.

Couples should pick a destination which they both will enjoy as this will of course make it far easier to express their love for each other.

Choosing the Right Time

It is a good idea to select a time that will be most appropriate for your holiday. Choose a time that is easy for you in regards to taking time off work or from household duties. This will make it far easier to feel relaxed while on your holiday, allowing you to focus more on fuelling the romance.

You may also want to research when the best time is to visit your chosen destination so as to avoid peak crowds or unideal weather conditions.

Choosing a romantic date to travel such as an anniversary, honeymoon, or birthday can also turn any holiday into one filled with more passion. Travelling during Valentine’s Day can make for an especially romantic holiday of which there are many perfect Valentine’s Day destinations.

Fly Business Class

Although your destination may be exhilarating, the flight or flights to get there can be stressful. Minimise the stress of flying by booking business class where you’ll enjoy the VIP treatment with far more comfortable seats which many times convert into a bed allowing for a decent rest while in the air.

As a bonus you can many times be granted access to luxurious airport lounges when flying business class which makes waiting for your flight much easier as you are treated to free food and drinks along with clean bathrooms and seating areas.

Private Transportation

Public transportation can not only take longer to get to your hotel or attractions in your chosen destination, but they can also kill the mood for you and your loved one. By booking private transfers via your hotel or on your own, you can avoid buses, trams, and trains which can be crowded and noisy.

Choose a Nice Hotel

It may be difficult to find romance if you are staying in a dodgy motel or hostel. Be sure to book quality accommodation which has private en suites and clean furnishings. Remember that your vacation is supposed to be an escape, so make that escape the best it can be with premium toiletries, fancy marble bathroom floors, plush pillows, quality linen, and a nice hotel room view. All of these luxuries will make for a far more romantic getaway.

Eating Out

Nothing can ignite romance more than delicious food although preparing it isn’t always that much fun. One of the best aspects of travelling is that it gives us an excuse to not have to cook.

Seek out popular restaurants that offer a romantic setting, quality service, and mouth watering flavours that will leave you passionate for more than just satisfying your hungry stomach.

Get Dressed Up

Although you and your loved one may look good in any light and attire, it is never a bad idea to put on your Sunday’s best. It can sometimes be difficult in our everyday lives to find occasions to get all dressed and made up, so why not make your holiday abroad an excuse to do so.

Although clothes may not necessarily make the person, a nice dress or suit and tie can go a long way to giving us a little extra special glow to spark a bit of romance.

Log Off and Put the Phone Away

Nothing can kill a romantic dinner or event than the sound of message notifications, phone calls, or emails. Any holiday should be an excuse to remove the stress of the online world or work and with romantic holidays this becomes even more paramount.

You want to be focusing your attention on the love you and your partner share or if travelling solo you want this time to focus on the beauty of the destination you have selected which may in turn bring you a bit of romance. Disconnecting is all about reconnecting; so log off and put the phone away!

Reduce the Risk of Stressful Situations

Stress can kill romance very quickly. When we are stressed we can easily find ourselves getting into silly arguments or bouts of criticism. Your holiday is supposed to be an enjoyable experience so don’t let it turn sour by making the possibility of stress to creep on in.

Don’t try to overload your itinerary with too much and avoid setting too rigid of a timeline. Prior planning is important to avoid any unwanted surprises or disappointments when it comes to securing reservations for flights, hotels, or activities.

Should anything go wrong during your travels, you want to have the peace of mind you are protected by travel insurance from InsureandGo. Travel Insurance can help when the unforseen happens while you are overseas.

Continue Reading

Europe

How to Plan a Trip to Iceland

Published

on

If you have ever heard the amazing stories about Iceland, they are all true!  If you’ve come this far into doing research about how to plan a trip to Iceland, I’m here to help you cross the bridge and fill in gaps so you can make your dream a reality.

As someone who has done this trip, I’m able to assist in every step of the journey.  I’ve boiled this down into cliff notes so you can do your own research after reading them and dig deeper into tours that will fit your personal preferences and budget.

First off, you are going to need to trust the Internet.  It’s a big place with a lot of information that can help you get there in one piece and not be stressed out.  Long gone are the days of visiting a travel agency and having someone plan everything for you – for a fee!  It’s your adventure, and you can know that every item is covered online, you just need to know how to look for it.

The best tip I can give you is to leverage the various Facebook Groups about Iceland.

Resource:  When In Iceland Facebook Group.

Next, you’ll want to decide when to visit Iceland.

The winter months will allow you to have more freedom as the tourism numbers are down.  However, this comes with the caveat that it will be below freezing and there will be very little sunlight!  The sun is only out for approximately six hours during the month of December!

On the positive side, this allows you a great opportunity to view the Northern Lights, which is a marquee attraction in Iceland.

Conversely, the Fall and Spring will bring you better temperatures and less snow, but there will be a much slimmer chance of viewing the Northern Lights.

Lastly, there are the Summer months.  While you will see a greener country and experience a lot of beauty on that end of the spectrum, it does come with a much higher price tag.  Be prepared to spend more money if you choose to visit Iceland in the Summer.

Also, you’ll want to have an agenda.  If you are one to take things in on your own and adventure into the wild, Iceland will be a perfect escape for you.  There are also guided tours that you can hire and they will accommodate to your every need or desire.  Simply ask anyone in the aforementioned Facebook group and they can steer you in the right direction.

You can of course, do public transportation in Iceland.  It’s entirely safe and used by many people.

Iceland is a fantastic, unique place to visit.  If you need any help planning your trip, please visit my Iceland Tour guide resource and leave a comment.  Happy Travels.

Continue Reading

Europe

Overlooked and Underrated Euro Vacations

Published

on

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.

 

Continue Reading

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...

Trending