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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).

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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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

5 European Cities to Visit in the Dead of Winter

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As one of the most polarizing seasons, winter could be termed as both a blessing and a curse by those who like making the most out of nature.

After all, while it brings about the opportunity to build snowmen and to ski on magnificent ice slopes, it also brings a chill to the bone and a desire to never get away from the fireplace.

Don’t forget about the hot chocolate either.

That is why, when it comes to vacationing in winter, it gets quite difficult to choose from a location – especially when the destination is as diverse in climate as Europe. Do you select a place that’s sunny and warm? Or somewhere that lets you enjoy the ice and cold in the best ways possible?

To make that decision easier for you, here are 5 European cities that you could visit in the dead of winter, with the assurance that you would come out of the vacation phase with a smile on your face.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a city that is synonymous with sunshine, warmth, and some of the world’s most breathtaking architecture.

The temperature rarely drops below 45 degrees even in the coldest months of the year. While the sunshine remains present amidst the rainy days. This means that you can enjoy the best effects of winter without having to endure the worst of them.

If you happen to be a fan of football, then these effects can be increased by several times. This beautiful city is home to one of the greatest football clubs of all time and with Barcelona FC in contention for a championship virtually every year, odds are you’ll be walking out with a smile on your face after watching a win. Not a bad way to take a break from the beach!

Athens, Greece

While you wouldn’t be able to go to Mount Olympus’ mythical version in this day and age, you can still experience Greece’s magnificence through the beautiful city of Athens.

Like Barcelona, Athens also sees rare drops in temperature while being consistent around 45 degrees throughout the heaviest months in winter. With the architecture that you can experience under the sun, this weather can actually be ideal for an exploratory walk.

And if you are a fan of Greek food, then checking out local restaurants for authentic dishes would only add to the overall experience of your trip.

Venice, Italy

Since Italy is full of some of the most breathtaking architecture in the world, it would be quite debatable to say that Venice is the crown jewel of the country in terms of structural beauty.

But it is.

From the way that the city has been designed to the manner that the buildings have been developed, Venice remains a breathtaking sight for anyone who visits it.

That remains true even in the months of winter, where the does drop to around 30 degrees, but still provides the tourists and inhabitants with a way to enjoy the magnificent sights under the sun.

Zugspitze, Germany

Germany is considered to be one of the coldest countries in Europe, but it is a good thing for those who enjoy a bit of snow during their travels.

And for those who do, there are perhaps not many places that are as marvelous as Zugspitze in terms of a memorable winter experience.

With snow covered mountains and a temperature that dances around -14 degrees in winter, you can enjoy an array of winter sports such as skiing, sledding, and snowboarding to your heart’s desire. If you are one to enjoy snow and everything good there is about the season of winter, then Zugspitze is the place to go.

Marseilles, France

While Paris gets quite cold in winter without the weather enhancing any effects of life within the city, Marseille seems to be quite the opposite. The city is as lively in the winter as it is during its busiest days in summer, with plenty to do in adjacent areas.

You may visit the many architectural sites and tourist attractions in Marseilles itself, but you can add to that experience when you choose to visit the Christmas markets in Aix en Provence or Avignon.

With that, the many warm and steamy French soups and bouillon based dishes that you can enjoy in Marseilles only add to the trip. This means that by the time you are done with your visit to Marseilles, you are bound to be fed well, have some goods in your shopping bags, and some memorable pictures in your phone to boot.

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Europe

Even the Most Expensive Cities Have Cheaper Alternatives: Paris

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According to the results of The Economist Intelligence Unit’s “Worldwide Cost of Living” survey, Singapore, Paris, Zurich, Hong Kong, and Oslo are the most expensive places to live – and visit – this year. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit them, though – actually if your budget allows it, you should cross them off your bucket list as soon as you can. But this doesn’t mean you have to break all your piggy banks and sell your soul only to spend a weekend in one of the most expensive cities in the world. Unless you’re adamant that it’s “Paris or bust”, there are alternatives to this crowded and top-dollar destination you might want to consider – and start saving for your dream trip nonetheless.

Lyon

Lyon has a history of almost two millennia, and it shows: the remains of the Roman settlement Lugdunum, built at the confluence of the rivers Saône and Rhône, are showing to this day. Lyon might not be a capital city – it doesn’t have the size or the population – but its role in the everyday life of France was always important, both as a trade and a cultural hub.

The city has many gorgeous sights to see, like the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the Tour Métallique (a tall TV tower that replicates the top of the Eiffel Tower), among others, covering every age from the birth of the city to its modern times. Plus, it has museums, parks, gardens, and a street art group that has been designated the cultural ambassador for the city. Not to mention its cuisine, the unique and popular Lyonnaise cuisine that has become a worldwide sensation.

Lille

A relatively small city in the north of France, Lille is another charming alternative to a crowded and overpriced Paris. It features many distinct architectural styles, most of them with a clear Flemish influence. Among its landmarks, you find its Cathedral (Basilique-cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille), its Citadel, its palaces, and gardens. Lille is also the place with the biggest flea market in Europe – Braderie de Lille takes place on the first Sunday of September, with millions of attendees and over 10,000 sellers gathering in the streets of the city. It’s a charming, agreeable, and colorful city that will offer its visitors a beautiful experience.

Strasbourg

Last but not least, let us mention a city with a double significance – on one hand, it’s the official seat of the European Parliament, on the other, it’s a wonderful place to visit and a great alternative to an overcrowded Paris.

Strasbourg is a place where French and German architecture mingle in a unique way, with an Old Town filled with timber-framed houses surrounding typical French landmarks and churches. It also has many notable parks, some with historic significance, and almost too many museums for its small size. Plus, it’s a distinctively multicultural city where visitors will find it easy to fit in.

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Europe

Let’s Do A Road Trip In Europe Fin

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Its that time of year again. It is the holidays and vacation, mirth and much merriment is upon us. Those of us who are lucky are able to take a few days to a few weeks off for vacation and can enjoy it abroad or do a staycation. A trip abroad is probably preferred, there’s so much to see and do, it would a pity to while the days away in your own hometown.

Get a move on, grab your bags, get a ticket and jump on a plane to Europe. When you get there, rest for a bit and begin your road trip. Nothing beats traveling on the road and taking all the sights that nature has to offer while stopping by at different locations.

Remember, a road trip can be very feasible and pleasant if it is done right. Make sure to have your car inspected, checked and ready to go for a long distance road trip.

You’ll want to make sure that you have your oil checked and your tires as well. Proper tires from suppliers such as Kwik Fit will get you squared away and ready to hit the road.

Oh, The Places You’ll Go

Grossglockner

One of the top places that you’ll want to go is in Austria. There’s this little spot called Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse, this spot is one that is talked about by road trip aficionados of all kinds.

The Grossglockner is the opposite of what it sounds like, it’s not gross at all, it’s quite pleasant actually.  The path will take you through different sights ranging from mountain tops to rivers, to rock formations and more. What’s fun about this place is that you will also be able to have different changes in the road itself, it is not just one straight path but one that is filled with turns and changes to keep you from getting bored.

Italy and the Amalfi Coast

Italy is a place that won’t disappoint, it has food, culture, and history to keep you company. Italy also has beautiful sights all over too. One of the best places to drive through would be the Amalfi Coast.

The Amalfi Coast has everything you could possibly want, beaches, cliffs, and beautiful fishing villages. The place is not only beautiful in nature but in culture as well. One can check out the Cathedrals, Villa Rufolo, engage in some boat tours for a quick respite from their road trip and also view the Sirenuse from afar.

Portugal – The Estoril Coast

Drive from Italy, pass by countries such as France, Spain and reach the destination of Portugal. You will find the climate and the overall setting over here to be appealing.  On your way to this beautiful place, make sure to check out popular spots such as Lisbon and other prominent locations such as Sintra. The Estoril Coast was home to the nobility of ages past and even to those that we see as nobility today, celebrities, wealthy people and tourists with a couple of euros or dollars to their name stop by this place and immerse themselves in the manmade and natural attractions that this place has to offer.

Don’t Hesitate, Time Stands Still For No One

Time is slipping, check out budget and look into which part of Europe you want to stick to. Make the decision and take the trip, it will be a great refreshment and you will be glad you were able to have the experience. Take a few snapshots and indulge in the experience of #RoadtripsofEurope

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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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