The beautiful sights of Siena, San Gimignano and Volterra
Rolling hills, rows of cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see: Tuscany is one of those regions you’ll never get tired of, beautiful both in winter and summer, with delightful little towns tucked away and magnificent cities housing unique art treasures.
A holiday in Tuscany means taking a sentimental, cultural and food and wine journey with the chance to enjoy with idyllic views and amazing ingredients.
Whether it’s a simple weekend get-away or special celebration, a trip to explore Italy is always a good idea.
You can switch off, relax and recharge your batteries whilst getting back to nature.
One of the best routes to see the heart of Tuscany is undoubtedly a road trip between San Gimignano, Volterra and Siena. Let’s find out what there is to see in these ancient, characteristic towns.
Visiting San Gimignano
San Gimignano is a very special fourteenth-century town with 13 towers – there were 72 at one time – which encircle and grace the skyline of this small city. It’s fascinating even from afar with its stunning outline rising up among the Tuscan hills.
Take the time to visit San Gimignano’s cathedral, located on the piazza del Duomo, as well as the amazing Piazza della Cisterna where you can enjoy an ice cream at the Gelateria Dondoli, a multi-award-winning ice cream parlour that’s easy to spot by the long queue outside.
San Gimignano is also famous for the production of Vernaccia, one of the best Italian white wines, renowned worldwide. If you are a wine lover, then join a wine tasting session, perhaps accompanied by local products, such as saffron, classic Tuscan crostini with liver patè, a platter of cold cuts and local pecorino cheese or excellent first courses featuring wild boar.
Volterra: the City of Vampires
Volterra is back in vogue after the second chapter of the Twilight saga was set here, despite there never having been any myths or stories that trace the existence of vampires to Volterra.
Volterra is a delightful town, surrounded by medieval walls which open on different sides and an immense park in which to relax in the shade of the trees.
Once you have left your car outside the walls, the best part is wandering along its streets, taking in the sights, snapping photos and ending up in the beautiful Piazza dei Priori, overlooked by the Palazzo dei Priori, a medieval palace housing the town hall where Volterra’s municipal council still meets today, a visit to which costs 5 Euros.
Piazza San Giovanni is not far away where you can find the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta. Take the time to stop here for an aperitif with a glass of fine Tuscan wine and some typical crostini.
On the road to Volterra, which is about 40 minutes from San Gimignano, in the district of Spicchiaiola, there is a sculpture by Mauro Staccioli in the shape of a ring, the ring of San Martino. This red sculpture is known as the “indicator” and it is a panoramic viewpoint that marks the crossing point between the province of Pisa and that of Siena.
Siena: an amazing town of ups and downs
Siena, with its wonderful shell-shaped piazza is one of the most beautiful towns in Tuscany. The gently sloping Piazza del Campo is one of the most symbolic places in Siena and houses the Torre del Mangia where you are afforded of view of the city from a height of 87 metres. As you stroll around the old city centre, take the time to visit the Piazza del Duomo, the location of the pristine white, Romanesque-Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta.
Not far from there is the Facciatone viewpoint and the view from Via Diacceto, both of which are also worth a visit.
An unforgettable holiday, strolling through the streets of Tuscany, awaits you.