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near San Gimignano, Toscana (Italia)
This hike takes you through and around San Gimignano and offers great views of the medieval city with the towers across a typical Tuscan scenery with cypresses, olive groves and vineyards. The hike is mostly on white gravel roads (strade bianche), and not difficult.
The hike starts at the Bagnaia (P3/4) parking lot on the north side of town. You walk up to the city walls and then to the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino and then on to the city gate at the Via San Matteo. You walk along the Via San Matteo towards the center, then turn right and end up at the Piazza delle Erbe, just off Piazza del Duomo. You then walk up to the fortress Rocca di Montestaffoli, where there is a tower with good views of the town and the countryside. From here you walk back towards the Piazza del Duomo. Just before getting to the square, I climbed the Torre Grossa inside the Museum Palazzo Communale. The view on top is great, but you need to pay a fee which also gives access to the museum (no ticket available to only climb the tower). You exit the museum on the Piazza del Duomo. Via Piazza Cisterna you make a small detour to a viewpoint, and then walk along the Via San Giovanni to the Porta San Giovanni. You exit the town via the old road to Poggibonsi (Via Vecchia per Poggibonsi). This gravel road takes you about 1.9 km from the town with occasional great views towards San Gimignano. You then end up on the new road to Poggibonsi, which you follow for almost 300 m before going up the hill quite steeply on another gravel road. After climbing the hill you follow for 4.6 km a broad gravel road which slightly undulates on the crest of hills with great views across a valley towards San Gimignano and of the surrounding Tuscan countryside. This gravel road takes you all the way to the SP127. You follow a small track beside the asphalt road for 360 m and walk back the rest of the track on the SP127 and another asphalt road for about 1 km until you get back to the parking lot.
You will only find something to eat and drink in San Gimignano.
Church on the northern side of town
This gravel road takes you up from the main road to Poggibonsi and is the steepest of the day.
This gravel road takes you along the crest of a row of hills separated by a valley from the hill on which San Gimignano sits. This gives you excellent views of the town framed by vineyards, olive groves and cypresses. Also the view to the northeast across Tuscan countryside is great.
Former fortress on the west side of town dominates the city and affords great views. It is possible to climb a tower for the best view.
Central square with the Duomo and the palace with the museum
Square off Piazza del Duomo.
City gate on the south side of town at the end of the Via San Giovanni which leads all the way from the Piazza della Cisterna and is packed with shops and restaurants.
Strada Provinciale 127. This asphalt road takes you back to San Gimignano. The first 360 meters, you follow a small track next to the road.
You can climb this tower which is part of the Palazzo del Popolo and the Museo Civico. You have to pay an entrance fee for the museum, but even if you do not care about the rest of the exhibits, the view is well worth the expense.
Road from the northern city gate to Piazza del Duomo.
Here starts the old road to Poggibonsi, a gravel road.
Viewpoint on the west side of the center just off Piazza della Cisterna