San Gimignano and Volterra 8hrs
Dedicate one day to the magnificent cities of San Gimignano and Volterra, and explore the history of the Tuscan hills on a private tour from Florence. A succession of winding roads cross vineyards and olive groves, to reveal the incredible medieval city of San Gimignano which offers breathtaking views of the Tuscan countryside from its over 1000 ft of elevation. Discover the Italian Etruscan heritage in Volterra, where ancient tombs, Roman ruins and squares lined with bricks intertwine with lively alabaster shops.
What To Expect
Enjoy views of the scenic, rolling countryside on your 1-hour drive to San Gimignano. The beautiful stronghold of San Gimignano is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tuscany. It is a treasure of medieval architecture, frozen in time at 1300 AD. Above all, it is famous for its ancient towers, which still stand out from its skyline, earning it the nickname Manhattan of the Middle Ages. Discover the city on your own, with insider tips on where to find the best locally-made gelato or local Vernaccia wine. Visit the historic Piazza Duomo, admire the stunning frescoes and stone work inside the Collegiata Church and Sant’Agostino. Climb to the town’s highest point to take in the distinctive medieval towers, and soak up the colorful atmosphere in the sunny Piazza della Cisterna.
Duration: 2 hours
Piazza della Cisterna dates back to 1287. It is located exactly in the center of the city, at a crossroads between the two main streets of the upper medieval village. While the city’s Piazza del Duomo served both as a religious and political center, Piazza della Cisterna was instead used as a local market and as a stage for social gatherings, parties and tournaments.
The collegiate basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, also known as La Collegiata, is one of the six most beautiful monuments to admire in San Gimignano. It is the main center for Catholic worship in San Gimignano, and home of the parish of the same name. Located in Piazza del Duomo, it is at the top of a wide staircase from which the western side of the square dominates. It was perhaps erected in 1056, and subsequently consecrated in 1148.
Continue your journey towards Volterra, stroll through the winding and cobbled streets to reach a remarkable array of historical sites. You will see incredible historical discoveries such as Etruscan tombs built hundreds of years before Christ, elaborate Roman baths and an incredible theater excavated in the rock. Twilight saga fans shouldn't miss Volterra, set of the movie New Moon, where dramatic scenes were shot with the backdrop of stone walls, historic squares and ramparts. Take some time to explore the boutiques and workshops that line the streets, you will be able to see how Alabaster stone is worked by hand in famous works of art from Volterra. Choose the perfect place for lunch, the area has enchanting restaurants and trattorias, or you can arrange a meal at a nearby farm house.
Duration: 4 hours
The Fortezza Medicea of Volterra was built on the highest point of the hill overlooking the town. As you approach Volterra you can see its imposing structure. The Fortress is composed of two bodies, the Old Rocca and the New Rocca, joined by a long curtain with corbels, forming inside a large square. The New Rocca was commissioned by Lorenzo de Medici on the site where the Palazzo dei Vescovi was built, and which was later destroyed by the Florentines in 1472.
Palazzo dei Priori is located in the namesake piazza. The edifice was built around 1200 by the bishops who ran the city, and it’s the oldest civic building in Tuscany. This marvelous building and main square of the city of Volterra have always been one of the favorite places to visit.
The medieval walls of Volterra were built in 1200. The construction started at the turn of the century (during the consular regime) as a process of remodeling and strengthening of the Etruscan wall. It later continued methodically until 1254, the year in which the city of Florence captured Volterra.