How to get from Florence to San Gimignano? Planning a trip to Tuscany you will probably search for information about how to reach San Gimignano from Florence, two of the main attractions of the region and of Italy. In this post, we tell you all the different ways. Then choose the best one for your needs.
WHERE IS SAN GIMIGNANO?
San Gimignano needs no big presentations. Every year thousands of travelers visit this little jewel of Italy. We are in the heart of Tuscany. The medieval village stands on a high hill of Val d’Elsa valley, halfway between Firenze and Siena. And not far from Chianti and other lovely Tuscan hamlets such as Volterra, Certaldo, and Monteriggioni.
If you didn’t know, San Gimignano is also one of the seven UNESCO Heritage Sites of Tuscany. Check below to discover the other six.
An historical fact about San Gimignano
Its geographical location had an important role in the history of San Gimignano. In fact, during the Middle Age, the Via Francigena, one of the most important routes of that time connecting Canterbury to Rome, crossed the town.
San Gimignano was a busy crossroad of pilgrims going to Rome, and merchants moving between north and south of Italy. The city lived a period of splendor and economic well-being, as evidenced by the many towers presented in the city.
At the time, building a tower was synonymous with wealth. Therefore, most virtuous families challenged each other in the construction of more and more tall towers to show their power. That’s why there were 72 towers in town. Today only 17 of them left. Then, the birth of new trade routes was one of the causes of the economic downfall of the city.
HOW TO GET FROM FLORENCE TO SAN GIMIGNANO
Here are all the different ways to reach the Manhattan of the Middle Age.
From Florence to San Gimignano by car
Without a doubt, driving is the best way to reach San Gimignano from Florence. It takes just over an hour to complete the 60 km (30 miles). We know that driving in Italy may sound complicated and risky, but this is a simple drive and there is nothing to worry about. Just be careful as everywhere. Set the navigator or google maps and enjoy the Tuscan landscape. By the way, these are instructions if you have not GPS.
To get out of Firenze, take the Autostrada del Sole A1 (tollway), direction Rome for a few km/miles. Exit to Firenze Impruneta and take the Superstrada (freeway), direction Siena. Get off to Poggibonsi Nord and then drive along secondary roads to arrive at the destination (11 km, 7 miles).
Where to park in San Gimignano
There are 4 car parks for a total of almost 800 slots.
Driving from South, Volterra, Poggibonsi, Siena and Florence, use:
- P1 Giubileo is the first you find coming from Volterra and Poggibonsi. This is the furthest but also the cheapest. You pay € 1,50 every hour for a maximum of € 5,00 for the entire day, and discounted rates from the second day. From there you can take a little walk to the center or get a shuttle (available also for people with disabilities).
- P2 Montemaggio is just outside the southern gate of Porta San Giovanni.
Driving from North, Certaldo, and Pisa, use:
- P3 Bagnaia Superiore and P4 Bagnaia Inferiore. They are outside the north eastern gate of the town, Porta San Jacopo.
For P2, P3, and P4 rates go from € 2,50 for the first hour, up to € 10,00 for the entire day. Discounted rates applied from the second day.
If you have a Disabled Person Parking Placards the parking is free on dedicated slots (usually yellow line).
Prices may vary depending on the seasons and special occasions (those are valid in 2020 with the current emergency COVID 19). For all info, please refer to the official website of the town.
Daily trip to San Gimignano with a guided tour
You don’t have too much time at your disposal? Don’t feel like using public transport? Or you travel without a car and don’t want to miss some of the highlights of Tuscany? A solution may be taking part in a guided tour departing from Florence.
Tours usually consist of an intense full-day “on the road” around Tuscany, visiting more places in a day. Unfortunately, you only scratch the surface of every place, having only one or two hours at your disposal. But, consider the tour as a small tasting. In case you like a place, desiring to have more, you can always come back on your own another time.
When I travel around the world, very often I travel solo. And guided tours are a great opportunity to visit more places in a day even, if only for a short time. Then, you have nothing to worry about cause everything is well organized. Just have fun with the new travel buddies you meet on the bus.
The guided tour I recommend will bring you from Florence to San Gimignano, Siena, and Pisa. You can also choose to add lunch in a wine cellar in the countryside of the Chianti. Below the link to get more info and buy your tickets.
San Gimignano from Florence by bus
Regular buses run from Florence to San Gimignano. But, as I said before, being Sangi not on the main route there is not a direct bus. You have to change in the town of Poggibonsi. But there is nothing to worry about. It is very easy. Approximately every hour there is a bus.
In Florence, buses depart from Firenze Autostazione. The Bus Station is next to the central train station FIRENZE SMN in front of the stop of Tramvia. The exact address is Piazza Della Stazione 60R.
The bus company name is Tiemme. Here is the website where you can check the timetable (only in Italian).
Buses you have to catch are:
- N. 131 from Firenze to Poggibonsi FS. Bus stop in front of the train station. The run lasts approx. 50 minutes
- N. 130 or n. 133 from Poggibonsi FS to San Gimignano (the stop is in front of Porta San Giovanni). The run lasts approx. 20/30 minutes.
Tickets for the entire trip costs € 6,80 one way, € 13,60 return. You can buy them at the Bus station or online on the Tiemme website (you have to register).
Consider a duration of approx. between 1h30 minutes/ 2 hours, depending on the number of stops on the way, and on the waiting time in Poggibonsi.
From Florence to San Gimignano by Train
There is not a direct train to San Gimignano from Florence. As per the bus, you have to stop in Poggibonsi again.
- Catch one of the Regionale trains from Firenze SMN train station to Poggibonsi. They run almost every hour. The ride lasts 1 hour, more or less.
- Get out at Poggibonsi train station and take the bus 130 or 133 to reach San Gimignano. The journey takes about 20/25 minutes.
The train ticket to Poggibonsi cost € 7,90 one way. The bus fare is € 2,60, so the total would be € 10,50 to go. And the same price to go back to Firenze.
You can buy a train ticket online or to an automatic machine at the train station. For the bus ticket, use the Tiemme website or buy the ticket at the train station (at the bar or edicola where selling newspaper).
Consider spending 1h 30 minutes / 2 hours on the road to reach San Gimignano from Florence.
Is it better go by bus or train?
In theory, there is not a big difference in terms of time between bus and train. The ticket for the bus is cheaper. So I would suggest going ahead with this solution.
In reality, the duration depends also on traffic and public transport delays, which are not that unusual in Italy. In this case, no stress, you can still spend your time reading a travel book, but only if you don’t suffer from motion sickness. Or enjoying the Tuscan landscapes from the window listening to good Italian music. And, if you haven’t listened before, here is our playlist for the best Italian Music for traveling on Spotify and YouTube.
What to do in San Gimignano
Whatever way you take to reach San Gimignano, once there you only have to enjoy the wonders of this little medieval hamlet. Don’t miss the highlights and, after that, follow my steps along with this self-guided tour of the unusual things to see in San Gimignano.