Amazing Secrets of San Gimignano Bicycling Holidays in Italy, Europe

The beautiful mediaeval town of San Gimignano is located in the Siena region of Tuscany in the north-central area of Italy. Famed for its magnificent towers that rise up above the town's hilltop location this area is renowned for its rich cultural, historic and artistic heritage.

Cycling in the Area
This beautiful part of Tuscany is perfect for cycling holidays, as spectacular views can be found around almost every corner. Be prepared for the hills, although these should not be a problem for the moderately fit cyclist and there is always a vineyard just around the next turning where the weary cyclist can stop for lunch and sample some of the in-house refreshment. Take time to enjoy the food, wine and amazing views before setting off to explore the many lanes dotted with churches and be sure to watch one of the spectacular sunsets as the sun drops behind the splendid towers of San Gimignano.

City of the Beautiful Towers
There has been a town on the site of San Gimignano since the 3rd century BC although it was the 10th Century before it became well known as a stopping-off point for pilgrims travelling the Via Francigena. The town's trademark towers are thought to have been built by mediaeval nobles keen to display their wealth. These towers were a feature of the landscape across the region, but most have been destroyed over the centuries, making San Gimignano unique in preserving so many of its original structures. Fourteen towers now remain out of the original 72 and they dominate the skyline and give the town its alternative name 'City of the Beautiful Towers'.

Take time to visit the Palazzo Communale and Torre Grossa, the highest of the towers, which offers spectacular views across the Tuscan countryside. Podesta's Palace offers similar views and allows visitors to get their bearings in the town by viewing it from above.

Once back on firm ground, head for the San Gimignano 1300 and Treasure Hunt. This is a model of the town as it would have appeared in the Middle Ages and offers an insight into the architecture and way of life of the citizens of that era. Visitors can participate in a treasure hunt which leads them around the town solving riddles and puzzles, making this a fun and interactive way to discover the town and its many secrets.

Tuscany is famous for its vineyards and the area around San Gimignano is no exception. A very short cycle ride outside the walls of the main town is the Sovestro in Poggio Winery, which offers tours, wine tasting sessions, olive oil sampling and the opportunity to partake of a delicious lunch with spectacular views across to the towers of San Gimignano.

Also within easy cycling distance is the Fattoria Il Piano Winery and the Fattoria Poggio Alloro, which is also a working farm which welcomes visitors and offers wonderful lunches with views across to the city.

The long history of this walled city means that it has a wealth of museums to offer the traveller, including the Medieval Torture and Criminal Museum, which is not recommended for the faint-hearted!

The nearby Musea D'Arte Sacre displays religious artefacts from the region, while the frescoes in the nearby Il Duomo illustrate the art which can be found inside a Tuscan church.


Joyce Faraday is a keen cyclist who writes regular online articles and blogs for cycling and travelling websites. She is a regular participant in cycling holidays, particularly around Europe and is currently planning her next trip cycling around the South of France.

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