From Florence to San Gimignano: 4 Best Ways to Get There
San Gimignano is located just under 60 kilometers southeast of Florence and can be easily reached by train, bus, or with an organized tour. Because the two cities are so close, the route can be covered in as little as one hour, making for a perfect day trip.
There are several different ways of getting from Florence to San Gimignano. How you choose to travel may depend on your budget or whether you are interested in driving in Italy. If you don't want a lot of hassle, consider taking a tour.
San Gimignano is most famous for its 14 medieval towers. A typical Tuscan town full of charm and history, San Gimignano offers plenty of things to do, walkable streets, and photo opportunities.
Whether you're headed there for a day or a weekend, we've put together a list of the best ways to travel from Florence to San Gimignano to help you organize your trip.
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1. From Florence to San Gimignano by Tour
If you only have one day to discover the breathtaking beauty of Tuscany, a Private Tour of Siena, Pisa, and San Gimignano from Florence will give you the chance to plan your own itinerary, so you can discover several cities at once.
This nine-hour tour starts with an early pickup at your own hotel in a very comfortable car with Wi-Fi and cold bottled water for your trip. Sit back and relax as you travel through the Tuscan countryside on your way to Siena, the first stop on your tour.
Along the way, your driver will share information about the region, tips on making the most of the day, and what not to miss on your stops.
Once you get to Siena, spend time on a self-guided tour of the historical city, exploring the many tourist attractions. See the masterpieces of Gothic-Romanesque architecture, visit the central Piazza del Campo square, and learn about the many world-renowned artists born here — including the soft, stylized work of Simone Martini and the frescoes of Ambrogio Lorenzetti inside Siena's Palazzo Pubblico.
Your next stop on the tour is San Gimignano, a medieval walled hill town famous for the 14 stone towers that survive from ancient times. Stroll down the historic center to reach the 12th-century Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta church, then find a shaded spot to look over the green countryside or grab a quick bite while you wait for your driver to meet you again.
The last stop of the day is Pisa, where you'll have a chance to visit not only the famous Leaning Tower, but also the Piazza del Miracoli (an area framed by medieval walls) and a number of other attractions, including churches, palaces, and towers.
Pick up a souvenir, try a bite of the traditional local sweet bread with raisins and aniseed (buccellato), and don't forget to take an iconic photo in front of the famous bell tower itself.
When you're ready to head back, meet your driver at a prearranged place and time, sit back, and enjoy the ride back to your hotel.
2. From Florence to San Gimignano by Bus
If you're going to use public transportation to travel between Florence and San Gimignano, buses are your best choice. Buses leave once an hour in winter and more frequently in summer, as this is a popular route during peak tourist season.
Buses depart from Via Santa Caterina da Siena, right next to Florence's Santa Maria Novela train station. You can't miss the stop, as there are always buses parked here, waiting to leave.
All buses on this route require a transfer at the small Tuscan hamlet of Poggibonsi. Both buses are local buses, which means you can't reserve a seat, and there's no guarantee you'll even get a seat.
Tip: To avoid crowded buses, travel early in the morning, before both the tourists and the locals head out. The first bus leaves at 6:10am if you're up for a very early start.
Actual travel time is around 70 to 80 minutes — 50 minutes for the first bus and about 20 minutes for the second — but this is dependent on traffic and how long you have to wait to catch the second bus. During peak hours or summer, the total travel time could be up to two hours.
Once you get to San Gimignano, get off at the Porta San Giovanni, the main city gate. From here, it's a less than a 300-meter walk to Piazza Cisterna in the center of the city.
If you catch an early bus, visiting San Gimignano can be easily done as a day trip. But since this is what most people do, the nights are quiet and charming in this little town after the tourists go home; it's worth staying overnight just to explore the peaceful streets.
3. From Florence to San Gimignano by Train and Bus
Since there's no train station in San Gimignano, you can't directly travel between Florence and your final destination by train. However, the dreamlike views of the Tuscan countryside from the train are hard to beat — so it's worth combining a train with a short bus ride at the end just to get a peek of the iconic landscapes along the way.
To get to San Gimignano, you'll still have to take a train to Poggibonsi train station. Trains depart regularly from Florence's Santa Maria Novela train station and take just under one hour to reach Poggibonsi. Once here, you'll have to catch the local bus #130, which runs from Siena to San Gimignano.
Buses between Poggibonsi and San Gimignano run regularly — twice an hour before noon and then less often throughout the rest of the day. Except for times when the traffic is very heavy, the journey takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
Keep in mind that the train schedule and the bus schedule aren't well-coordinated, so the waiting time between arriving at the train station and catching the next bus can sometimes be 15 to 20 minutes or more.
Exploring Poggibonsi: If you have time, consider not rushing to catch the bus right away, and instead spend an hour exploring Poggibonsi. Head to the 15th-century Fortezza Medicea di Poggio Imperiale, which boasts benches, modern art, and lots of green space for a quiet break on a hot summer day. Then visit the 14th-century Fonte delle Fate fountain, made up of six massive stone arches.
Grab a gelato near the train station on your way back, then get on the next bus towards your destination, San Gimignano.
If you're visiting San Gimignano as part of a day trip, keep in mind that the last bus towards Poggibonsi departs at 7:55pm on weekends and 9:15pm on weekdays. If you miss it, you won't be able to get another one until after 6am the next day.
4. From Florence to San Gimignano by Car
The route from Florence to San Gimignano goes through Tuscany's countryside, the one place where driving in Italy definitely makes more sense than taking public transportation.
If you take the Raccordo Autostradale (often abbreviated as RA3 on signs and maps) as you're leaving Florence, it's just under 60 kilometers or one hour to reach San Gimignano, and you'll ride surrounded by beautiful Tuscan attractions and views. With a car, you'll be able to stop along the way for great photos, stunning views, and maybe a bite to eat.
It's also possible to take the A1 autostrada (in the direction of Rome). The traffic is heavier, so the drive might take longer depending on the time of the day.
As you arrive in town from Florence, you'll find two large parking spaces that allow parking by the hour or the day. From here, it's a short walk to the city center and some of the main attractions.
Italy has something called "restricted traffic zones" (ZTL), which bans non-residents from driving into historical town centers and some parts of large cities. This is to reduce traffic congestion and in small towns, it often means having to park your car somewhere and then walk around, which is the case in San Gimignano.