San Gimignano

Our family will be staying in a villa in Tuscany early in June, we would like to see San Gimignano. When you recommend visiting, first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon? We know it fills with tourists, like us (!) but I would like to avoid as many as possible. Any advice?

Posted by Marie
San Diego, CA, United States
864 posts

I love the early morning light. Have a lovely morning, catch a nice two hour lunch and leave. This gets you there before the crowds and it's cooler. Then again, I also love the late afternoon light. My sister is a wreck in the morning and I'm up with the birds so take that into account as you look lovingly upon your family - lol. At any rate 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is usually the worst crowd wise.

Posted by Nancy
Villanova, PA, USA
7 posts

Thanks for your suggestions Marie. I am going to try to remember the "loving look" as we are trying to round up the water bottles, find the missing sandal and the car keys and make our departure from the villa.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
7357 posts

I like the late afternoon for San Gimignano - I have photos of the towers looking pink in the late afternoon sun.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
4374 posts

I was excited to see this place until I got there. It's a tourist haven. Any great place is going to be less enjoyable when bus after bus after bus rolls up and dumps crowds of tourists. I thought the town looked like a newly constructed copy of a medieval hill town. There were trinket shops and restaurants dotted all over the place. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

Posted by Katherine
Philadelphia, PA, United States
173 posts

One thing we found during the middle of the day was that the street parallel to the one that is a solid mass of people was empty. We walked right up to a gelato place at the end of the parallel street, got our cones (and pleased the owner, who loved my Siracusa hat), and quietly sneered at the long lines in front of the gelato places on the main street. Once you get out of the main square and the main road (to the famous gate) there are hardly any crowds.

Posted by Susan
Marin County/San Francisco
4034 posts

We were there in the middle of the day in July and it wasn't crowded at all. Maybe we were just lucky, or maybe it just isn't always that crowded. We really liked SG. We walked all over, through the residential area and lots of small side streets, these areas were practically empty.

Posted by Lexma
620 posts

We have stayed IN San Gimignano several times. We are leaving the town as others arrive, and then return in early evening to an almost empty town. We can have a leisurely drink at a cafe, gelato from one of two fabulous gelaterias on the main square, and enjoy the beauty. Arrive in late afternoon if you can; maybe even stay for dinner!

Posted by Nancy
Villanova, PA, USA
7 posts

Thank you all for your suggestions, very helpful. Given mustering 14 people, I think we will opt for a late afternoon early evening visit!

Posted by Rosalyn
1777 posts

A bit of unsolicited advice . . .Three times we have been part of a group of 12 - 18 people, staying in a rented villa, not a family and all older adults. What worked really well was for us not have the expectation that we'd all do the same things, except for one splurge dinner out. Each late afternoon or evening people would discuss their plans for the next day and sort out which of the drivers would accommodate which of the non-drivers. Some days some of the people just hung out and did nothing. Every one seemed to get to see what they wanted to, and no one felt pressured to do things they had no interest in. The last time we were near San G. Pm me if you'd like the details on the place where we had our fabulous, reasonably-priced total group meal.