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San Gimignano

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990, San Gimignano presents a medieval architecture of the communal period of considerable value, unique in Europe and worldwide. The historic center of this small town of seven thousand residents still conserves 14 of the 72 towers built between the eleventh and twelfth centuries AD, during which it reached its zenith as a free city.

Its wealth was based mainly on agricultural products, that are still and abundantly cultivated today: the prized saffron and the Vernaccia di San Gimignano white wine, DOCG now, and the first wine to be certified DOC in 1966. Dry and slightly bitter, it goes perfectly with pasta on white sauce, fried plates, fish, eggs and white meat.

For its profile the town is also called the Manhattan of the Middle Ages, and it is easily accessible from our hotel, it is located infact just minutes from Certaldo.

Where is San Gimignano?
The town of San Gimignano is in the heart of Tuscany, in province of Siena. Only a few minutes’ drive away from Hotel Certaldo, it is well connected with Siena, Florence and Pisa. More information about San Gimignano, maps and tips about restaurants are available free of charge for our guests at the Reception of Hotel Certaldo.

How to get to San Gimignano?
San Gimignano is only 10 minutes by car from Hotel Certaldo, by taxi, or, for the ones who love fitness, on foot from Hotel Certaldo! Taxi service can be booked free of charge at the Reception of Hotel Certaldo. More information about car rental is available for our guests at the Reception of Hotel Certaldo.

Where to stay in San Gimignano?
At Hotel Certaldo, only 10 minutes from San Gimignano! The guests of Hotel Certaldo can use our parking free of charge!

Where to park in San Gimignano?
There are several parking lots in San Gimignano. Most of them are pay-and-display parking lots. They are outside the city walls and from there the historical center of San Gimignano is reachable on foot. The names of the main parking lots are: Montemaggio, Bagnaia Superiore, Bagnaia Inferiore. More information about San Gimignano, maps and restaurants are available free of charge for our guests at Hotel Certaldo.

Where to eat in San Gimignano?
There are several good restaurants, pizzerias, trattorias and wine bars in San Gimignano. Here are some names: Cum Quibus, Le Vecchie Mura, Dorando’, La Mandragola, L’Officina del Cacio, La Mangiatoia, l’Osteria delle Catene, Dulcisinfundo, Fuoriporta, l’Osteria del Carcere.
Some wine bars: Un Mondo di Sapori, La Cantina del Convento, Enoteca DiVinorum, Vinoteque. Make sure not to skip the renown and awarded Gelateria Dondoli! At the Reception of Hotel Certaldo is possible to have any information you desire and book any restaurant you prefer.

What to see in San Gimignano?
San Gimignano is a medieval town of a beauty unique in the world, declared UNESCO world heritage site. Particularly, it is possible to visit Piazza del Duomo, where the Palazzo Comunale stands out with its Sala Dante (Dante’s Hall) and the art gallery. From here it is also possible to access the Torre Grossa (Great Tower), the highest tower of the city, from whose top you can enjoy a wonderful view of Tuscan countryside until the Apuan Alps to the North, and the Mount Amiata to the South!
Amongst the town museums the following are worth a visit: the Spezieria di Santa Fina, the Galleria d’Arte Moderna, the Archeological Museum. And furtherly: the Museo Omitologico, the Museum of Vernaccia Wine from San Gimignano, the Biblioteca Comunale, the Torture Museum, the Museum of Death Penalty. Worth mentioning are also: the Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta and the chapel of St. Fina in Piazza Duomo, Saint Augustine’s church, Saint Bartholomew’s church, the church of Saint Peter in Forliano, Saint Jacob’s church. More information is available free of charge for our guests of Hotel Certaldo at the Reception.

Which are the origins of San Gimignano?
San Gimignano has Etruscan origins. As historical evidence shows, the population that chose to live here did so for the strategic position on a hilltop (324 m a.s.l.) which overlooks the surrounding Tuscan hills. During the Middle Age San Gimignano was on the Via Francigena, which the bishop Sigeric traveled between 990 and 994. He took note of the town as the 19th stop on his journey from Rome towards Great Britain. In his travel journal Sigeric also took note of San Gimignano as an intersecting point between the cities of Siena and Pisa, calling it Sce Gemiane. Thanks to this favourable position on the Via Francigena, San Gimignano flourished both territorially and economically, earning its freedom from Volterra in 1199 and thus becoming a comune. The solid economy of San Gimignano contributed to the forming of nobility, which commissioned the towers for which the town is famous worldwide. Today we can still see some of them, but in the14th century San Gimignano came to have 72 towers! During the Middle Age, towers symbolized power and wealth of the families who commissioned them. They used to be destroyed during wars amongst cities as a humiliation towards the conquered city. But San Gimignano was not immune to difficulties: internal fights for power, then the plague and famine of 1348, which led to the spontaneous surrender to Florence and the subsequent renounce to independence. The very marginality of San Gimignano protected it, almost preventing time to pass and crystallizing the city so that it arrived into modern times almost architectonically intact. Despite the difficult times, San Gimignano was also a cradle for fine arts. Amongst the artists who worked in the town are Memmo di Filippuccio, Lippo and Federico Memmi, Taddeo di Bartolo, Benozzo Gozzoli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Sebastiano Mainardi (native of San Gimignano), Piero del Pollaiolo and many others. During the 19th century the beauty and uniqueness of San Gimignano was rediscovered, the town was bestowed the title of monument in 1929 and declared UNESCO world heritage site in 1990.

What is San Gimignano famous for?
San Gimignano is mainly famous for its medieval towers, still present in its architectonical layout, which earned it the the name of The Middle-Age Manhattan, or The Tuscan Manhattan.
During the 14th century the town had 72 towers or house-towers. The oldest is the Torre Rognosa, 51m high, while the highest is the Torre del Podestà (also known as Torre Grossa), 54m high, which is possible to visit and from which you can enjoy a most unique view of the surrounding Tuscan countryside! A town decree of the year 1200 forbade building towers higher than Torre Rognosa, which was the tallest at the time. Despite this, the two wealthiest families in San Gimignano, the Ardinghelli and Salvucci, had two more towers built only inches shorter of the Torre Rognosa, in order to boast their wealth and prestige. Here is a list of the towers you can still see today: Campanile della Collegiata, Torri degli Ardinghelli, Torre dei Becci, Torre Campatelli, Torre Chigi, Torre dei Cugnanesi, Torre del Diavolo, Torre Ficherelli o Ficarelli, Torre Grossa, Torre di Palazzo Pellari, Casa-torre Pesciolini, Torre Pettini, Torre Rognosa, Torri dei Salvucci.

Which are the typical products of San Gimignano?
It is possible to find many typical products in San Gimignano: cold cuts, cheeses, honey, extra virgin olive oil, the unmistakable D.O.P. saffron from San Gimignano, the local wines like Chianti, the Sangiovese wine and of course the Vernaccia wine from San Gimignano. Regarding local handmade items, you can find porcelain decorated objects, olive wood objects, leather goods, local stone jewellery and much more!

Which wineries are possible to visit in San Gimignano?
There are several wineries in San Gimignano where you can taste and buy wine. Here are some names: Casa alle Vacche, Teruzzi & Puthod, Azienda Agricola Cesani, Azienda Agricola F.lli Vagnoni, Azienda Agricola Fontaleoni, Azienda agricola Panizzi, Fattoria di Cusona – Guicciardini Strozzi, Fattoria Montenidoli, Fattoria Voltrona. More information regarding bookings and wine tastings is available at the Reception of Hotel Certaldo.

Which are the main shops in San Gimignano?
Here are some of the shops in San Gimignano: l’Antica Latteria, Balducci Ceramica, Beconcini Tuscan Homemade, Caffè Combattenti – Enoteca Corsi, Casa & Cose, Gelateria di Piazza, la Buca di Montauto, Pantani Arte San Gimignano, Pizzicheria Mauro e Marina and many others!

Where is the closest ATM machine in San Gimignano?
ATM machines in San Gimignano can be found at the following addresses: Banca di Cambiano, Via San Giovanni 3, 53037 San Gimignano (SI) Banca C.R. Firenze, Piazza della Cisterna 2, 53037 San Gimignano (SI) Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Piazza della Cisterna 26, 53037 San Gimignano (SI).

Which are the main events in San Gimignano?
San Gimignano hosts some interesting events. Here are some of them: Ferie delle Messi, Midnight in the Square in San Gimignano (San Silvestro fra le torri), the Carnival of San Gimignano, Gran Fondo della Vernaccia, the Festa di Santa Fina patrona di San Gimignano, the Lyric Season, Calici sotto le Stelle and many others! More information is available free of charge for the guests of Hotel Certaldo at the Reception.

When does the weekly market take place in San Gimignano?
The weekly market takes place every Thursday in San Gimignano, in Piazza della Cisterna.

Is there a public swimming pool in San Gimignano?
Yes, there is a public swimming pool in San Gimignano, at only a few minutes from the historical centre.
The address is Località Santa Lucia, San Gimignano.

Are there supermarkets in San Gimignano?
Yes, there is a COOP supermarket in San Gimignano, in Via Baccanella, a few minutes from the town centre.

Which is the closest pub in San Gimignano?
Avalon Pub, birreria, osteria pizzeria in Vicolo Baccanella 1, 53037 San Gimignano (SI)

Are there guided tours to visit San Gimignano?
Yes, there are several guided tours to visit San Gimignano, here are some contacts: Centro guide turistiche di Siena e provincia, Guida turistico ambientale Bruno Squartini, My Tuscan Wine and Tours , My Tours. More information is available free of charge for the guests of Hotel Certaldo at our Reception.

What to visit nearby San Gimignano?
There are several things to visit nearby San Gimignano. It is possible to visit the beautiful medieval town of Certaldo Alto, only 10 minutes by car, which was the birthplace of the medieval writer Giovanni Boccaccio; the Natural Reserve of Castelvecchio; the castle of Monteriggioni, with the city walls still intact; the famous Volterra, Etruscan city par excellance; Siena is only a 30-minutes drive, well-connected as well as Florence and Pisa. Also in the area nearby San Gimignano are Montaione, San Vivaldo, Vinci and San Miniato. More information, maps, tips on restaurants and tours are available free of charge for the guests of Hotel Certaldo at the Reception.

Is there a currency exchange in San Gimignano?
Yes, it is located in Piazza del Duomo, 1 53037 San Gimignano (SI)

Where is the Tourist Office in San Gimignano?
Piazza del Duomo, 1 53037 San Gimignano (SI)

Trivia of San Gimignano
San Gimignano is the set of the worldwide famous videogame Assassin’s Creed II. Fans of the game will be able to spot different places featured in it. San Gimignano was also chosen as a set for the film Tea with Mussolini, by Franco Zeffirelli.

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