Getting from Florence to San Gimignano by bus is an easy, affordable way to visit this beautiful hill town in Tuscany.
Famed for its 14 towers, San Gimignano is both picturesque and packed with history.
Read on for all the info you need on getting from Florence to San Gimignano by bus!
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How to get from Florence to San Gimignano by bus
Why take the bus?
When we were planning our trip to San Gimignano, most of the blogs and guides we looked at said that the best way to get from Florence to San Gimignano is to drive. Of course, driving would be the fastest and most convenient way to make the trip, and having a car would allow you to visit other towns in the area as well.
That said, we didn’t want the added expense and headache of renting a car and finding parking for the weekend. After some research, we found out that we’d still be able to get from Florence to San Gimignano – by bus!
You’ll have to change buses in a little town called Poggibonsi, which in my mind means “pudgy buns,” but unfortunately, in reality, does not mean that. The whole trip was surprisingly easy, and we did it all on a public holiday, when public transportation can be unreliable, but we made it!
Read on for all the steps you need to take to get from Florence to San Gimignano by bus.
Step 1: Get to the bus station outside of Santa Maria Novella in Florence
If you’re already in Florence, you can find the terminal by walking to Via Santa Caterina di Siena 17. If you’ve just arrived in Florence on a train, exit the station on the right hand side (near the Italo office). Cross the street. You’ll see a bar on the corner called “Pasticceria Deanna.” Round the corner onto Via Santa Caterina.
Once you’re there, you’ll see the bus station (autostazione) a little way down on the right. The ticket office is inside.
Step 2: Get tickets for the bus
Tell the driver you’re going to San Gimignano. If you want to buy a round trip ticket, you should say “andata-ritorno,” otherwise you’ll probably just get a one way, which at the time of writing cost 6.80.
Step 3: Get on the right bus
The ticket seller might tell you which platform the bus leaves from, but you can also double check with the driver. If your Italian isn’t great, a simple “San Gimignano?” with rising intonation should suffice.
When we made the trip it was bus number 131, but you should double check with someone in case it changes.
Step 4: Change buses in Poggibonsi
Ah, good old Poggibonsi. Like I said, we were there on a public holiday. Every door was shut. We didn’t see a soul on the streets. We didn’t know if the buses were even running.
We were the only ones who got off the bus at Poggibonsi station. There were some carabinieri (police officers) outside the station, chatting to each other and looking at us curiously. We found a schedule, but we weren’t sure it would be valid because of the holiday. We asked the cops, and they said yes, the bus should be along any minute. 30 minutes later, it arrived. Success!
It was number 130, but again, you should double check. The bus will bring you right to the city walls of San Gimignano.
Note: We traveled back to Florence on a Sunday, which meant that there weren’t many buses running. We ended up taking a regional train from Poggibonsi back to Florence, because we would have been stuck there for hours waiting for the bus. Taking the train for part of the journey might be a good alternative if you’re short on time.
You can check the timetable for buses from Florence to San Gimignano here.
Be aware that online travel information in Italy can’t always be trusted as it’s often not updated regularly, so it’s probably best to allow extra time when planning your trips.
Where to say in San Gimignano
We stayed in a beautiful little inn called Locanda di Quercecchio that we found on booking.com. The owners run a café in the main square, Piazza del Duomo, and we met them there to pick up the keys. The room was cozy and warm with a nice, hot shower. I highly recommend it!
I also highly recommend going to their bar for breakfast and having a bombolone con crema.
What to do in San Gimignano
For such a small town, San Gimignano has a lot to offer. Check out this website for an overview.
Stroll among the towers
The historic center of San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the 14 Medieval towers that are found there. Read more here.
Built by rich patrician families to show off their wealth and power, there were originally 72 towers in San Gimignano.
Take a walk around the perimeter of the city
Definitely make time to walk around the perimeter of the city. It’s absolutely gorgeous! Don’t miss La Rocca di Montestaffoli, where you can do a wine tasting and take in the beautiful countryside.
Where to eat in San Gimignano
Tuscan food never disappoints, and San Gimignano is no exception. Every meal we had there was delicious. If you like sweets, don’t miss Gelateria Dondoli, which claims the title of “Gelato World Champion” for 2006/2007 and 2008/2009!
Osteria delle Catene serves up some absolutely delicious Tuscan fare.
Osteria del Carcere offers unique dishes in a really adorable setting. They specialize in terrine, which are similar to paté, and a variety of soups.
Osteria Quattro Gatti also offers delicious local specialties.
If you have any questions about getting to San Gimignano or back to Florence, please reach out in the comments!
Spending some more time in Tuscany? Check out my post on where to eat in the city center of Florence!
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