San Gimignano located in Tuscany was the Frenchies next stop - This beautiful hilltop town was one of my favourites on our European odyssey and it also remains the kids favourite memory. The words escape me to describe this region and I won't even attempt as many have done a better job of it before me. It is a picture perfect location with rolling hills that surround the town perched on a hill with its 14 distinctive towers which still stand today.
We hired a fully self-contained villa about 3km from the historical town for a week as a base to explore the Tuscan region. The location was the ideal base to explore Volterra, Florence and Sienna as day trips.
The weather was unfortunately not on our side as we had some rain and cooler temperatures which was not ideal as the Villa had a pool which the kids attempted to swim in but got too cold. However on the up side the cooler weather made exploring the region much more comfortable as the Italian summer had not yet hit.
The town itself is small with a main street and some lovely shops and can easily be reached from nearby cities such Florence etc as a day trip... which means that most tourists arrive by the coach load for the day only and this makes it a busy place during the day. We made sure we returned into town on several occasions later in the day for a stroll and a gelato...it was bliss, all the hordes of tourist buses had left and the town was virtually deserted. The still evening with views of the Tuscan landscape will remain with me for a long time to come.
The main points of interest are the climb up to the Bell tower for a view of the town and the area, walking around the town, little gift shops. Grab a few slices of takeaway pizzas and wander around the piazza or find a seat and people watch as the kids chase after the pigeons ... and then follow this up with a Gelati from the Gelateria Di Piazza - (try the Vernaccia sorbet - for grown ups only)
Torre Prima Villa- Apartment Rosmarino 2 - San Gimignano. The Villa is located approximately 3km from the historical town of San Gimignano - comprises of 4 individual self contained apartments set within a working farm. The villa also has a pool with views of San Gimignano.
The rooms are simply presented but very clean and comfortable, the hosts are super friendly and are happy to answer any questions. If you speak Italian it is an advantage. The family live on the property and it is a working farm, were able to purchase their locally produced wine and olive oil. We arrived exhausted and a lovely freshly baked pie was waiting
Torre Prima Villa is by no means a flash villa but it was homely an inviting not pretentious at all. Most importantly it was within our budget with a pool! I would gladly return.
There are a few a restaurants to choose from but, to keep our budget low we mostly self catered at our villa (great supermarket in town).
However there was a great little pizza place on the main street - where you could get take away slices for a few Euros - best pizza (the name escapes me..if you know it please leave a comment)