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Small-Group San Gimignano and Volterra Day Trip from Siena

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Siena, Italy
Small-Group San Gimignano and Volterra Day Trip from Siena
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icon8 hours  (approx.)
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English
Good for avoiding crowds

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Overview

Get medieval on this guided tour from Sienna to San Gimignano and Volterra. Head to the marvelously diminutive hilltop town of Monteriggioni and then stop for a while in UNESCO world Heritage-listed San Gimignano with its plethora of medieval towers and commanding views over the Tuscan countryside. Finally, spend some time in an alabaster workshop in Volterra before indulging in a rustic lunch at a Tuscan farm. This small-group tour is limited to just eight people, ensuring plenty of personalized attention from the guide. 
  • Full-day guided trip to San Gimignano and Volterra from Siena
  • Visit the medieval Fortress of Monteriggioni
  • Walk down the Via Francigena, an ancient pilgrimage road in San Gimignano
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of San Gimignano at leisure
  • Visit an authentic workshop to see Volterra alabaster being made
  • Small-group tour (maximum of eight people) provides an intimate and personalized experience
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Driver/guide
Lunch
Transport by air-conditioned minivan
Visit to alabaster workshop
Gratuities
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Piazza San Domenico , Piazza S. Domenico, 53100 Siena SI, Italy

Meet under the large tree next to the red brick church

9:30 AM
This activity will end right where it started.
Head out of Siena in the morning traveling toward the medieval town of San Gimignano. Along the way, stop in the tiny town of Monteriggioni, a charming village on a hill that is defined by the centuries-old walls that encircle it. Stroll around the town, taking in the views and walking along the walls, learning from your guide about the history of the place. 

From there, hop back in the automobile for San Gimignano, enjoying the rustic Tuscan countryside along the way: the villa-topped hills, the vineyard-clad rolling mounds of earth and the olive groves. Once in San Gimignano, walk down the Via Francigena, a pilgrimage route from the Middle Ages that stretches from Canterbury in England all the way to Rome. The path goes right through San Gimignano. Learn from your guide about pilgrims in the Middle Ages and even today that would trek through France and Switzerland, even the Alps, to eventually get to Rome. 

Take some free time to do exploring on your own. Walk the narrow cobblestoned alleyways. Stare out at the vast Tuscan landscape before your eyes. Ascend one of the 14 matchstick-like stone towers, which were once inhabited by families in the Middle Ages. Linger for a while in Piazza del Duomo and perhaps pop into the church, the Collegiata. The exterior facade may look dull but the black-and-white striped Gothic interior is a showstopper. 

After some exploration, take a load off for lunch at a family-run farm just outside of town. Feast on locally made delights such as cheese and prosciutto. And don't miss anything made with the locally produced saffron in it. 

Later that afternoon, take a scenic drive south to the town of Volterra. The town, known for its alabaster -- the translucent stone used for centuries to create vases, lamps and other works of art -- is an aesthetically pleasing place to spend a little while. Watch craftsmen ply their trade and spend some time strolling the streets. 

After about an hour, hop back on the bus and head back to Siena. 
Itinerary
Pass By:  
Basilica Cateriniana Di S. Domenico
Meet your guide in front of the church of San Domenico in Siena at 9:30am, easy to find even if you are arriving from out of town with your own car, as there is parking in the vicinity.
Stop At:  
Cantinetta di Monteriggioni
Travel north into the first Chianti hills and take a walk around Monteriggioni, a medieval and perfectly preserved fortress with a complete ring of city walls and turrets built in the 13th century and mentioned by Dante in his Divine Comedy: this was once Siena’s main bastion of defense against the armies of Florence. Enjoy its quiet and charming atmosphere browsing the alleys and shops of local crafts and products, or lighting a candle in the local church as the pilgrim's once did.
Duration: 30 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
San Gimignano
Continue to the fascinating town of San Gimignano, one of the most characteristic hilltop towns of Tuscany, with its many austere medieval towers that defiantly survived the centuries and are still proudly standing today. Recognized as a UNESCO site of world heritage, this city is a great testimony of medieval architecture. Walk along the ancient route of the Via Francigena, the main route that took all travelers and pilgrims of Europe to Rome and the Holy See. The bustling San Gimignano flourishes with artisanal boutiques of the local trades and stores, selling the towns famous ‘red gold’ or saffron spice as well as the Vernaccia white wine, so traditional and old that Dante mentions it in the 13th century.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
San Gimignano 1300
Brief visit to the minature museum and marvel at what San Gimignano looked like during the Middle Ages
Duration: 10 minutes
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Volterra
After working up an appetite browsing squares, streets, churches and stores of San Gimignano, visit a small family-run farm and enjoy a traditional Tuscan lunch prepared using the farm's own seasonal products. During lunch you will taste dishes prepared with saffron accompanied by the refreshing Vernaccia white wine. After lunch, continue on the panoramic roads towards Volterra, the ancient Velathri, a city that harmoniously combines Etruscan and Roman ruins with medieval and Renaissance architecture, with the unavoidable modern buildings and furnishings. Visit a small, artisanal workshop and meet the craftsmen that have been working the local alabaster for decades. Witness this ancient art of sculpting this stone into precious masterpieces.
Duration: 2 hours 
Admission Ticket Free
Stop At:  
Cathedral of Volterra
Enjoy leisure time walking along the streets of the historical centre of Volterra, visiting the town’s famous Etruscan museum or simply marveling at the millennia old Etruscan arch, the Roman theatre or the more modern monuments and shops in town. On some occasions the itinerary might vary a little. In this case, the tour could be slightly modified but will maintain a similar general imprint, of the same duration and with all the same inclusions.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Free
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking, unless booked within 16 hours of travel. In this case confirmation will be received as soon as possible, subject to availability
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Infant seats available
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 8 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Tuscan Escapes by Papilio SRL
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.


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Traveler Tips


  • "Don't opt for cheaper tour - do small group - you will NOT regret it!" See review
  • "Take cash if you want to be able to purchase one of his creations." See review

Reviews by Viator travelers.  We perform checks on reviews

Reviews

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star-5
61 Reviews
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Reviews by Viator travelers

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Showing 1-10 of 61 reviews
star-5
Mare was an excellent...
Judith_R
, Jul 2022
Mare was an excellent guide and extremely knowledgeable of art, history, and gastronomy. The whole experience was wonderful. A well managed tour operator who delivered a smooth trip.
star-5
Best Day Tour of our Tuscany Trip
Pamela_B
, Jul 2022
This tour was one of my favorite experiences of our 11-day Tuscany trip. By a stroke of good luck, my husband and I were the only guests, and our guide, William, did a fabulous job! We got to spend exactly the perfect amount of time walking around Monteriggioni; then William took us to to the perfect spot to get the best photos. Next, we went to San Gimignano, and once again, William took us to the perfect spot to take photos before we went into the town. He dropped us off for time to explore on our own, with a recommendation to visit the San Gimignano 1300 museum, containing a miniature reconstruction of the town. Next, we had one of the best meals of our trip at a local agriturismo, owned by the lovely Carmela. The meal was excellent, from lightly fried zucchini flowers and sage leaves to ravioli with saffron and pecorino romano cheese, to saffron gelato. And delicious Vernaccia wine, plus a glass of Carmela's homemade Limencello. Our last stop was Volterra, where William took us to visit the workshop of one of the few artisans who still makes alabaster works of art all by hand. We then had free time to walk around the beautiful town of Volterra. I cannot recommend William and this tour enough!
star-5
Small group tour
vincent_s
, May 2022
The guide was very very good. She made it a very nice day, informative, fun and personable. We would highly recommend this tour and this guide
star-4
Ellena was an excellent,...
Ajay_N
, May 2022
Ellena was an excellent, energetic guide. The stops at Monteriggione, San G, farmhouse, alabaster workshop and Volterra were all immensely enjoyable. My only complaint is we ended up with just 40 minutes at Volterra - that is simply not enough. My suggestion would be to drop 1 one 2 of the stops and spend additional time in Volterra. Grazie Ellana
star-5
Fabulous trip!
Jolinda_H
, May 2022
Our private lunch at the organic saffron farm was truly special and unique, not to mention delicious with stunning views!
star-5
Historic towns and delicious farm lunch
Jennifer_S
, Apr 2020
Excellent way to spend a day. The towns were beautiful as expected. I particularly enjoyed the stop at an alabaster workshop to see a bowl being turned and sanded. Take cash if you want to be able to purchase one of his creations. The lunch stop at a saffron farm was wonderful. The food was delicious and we learned the process of picking the saffron and how the inspectors come to the farm to determine it's grade level. I had no idea how all of that worked so it was really interesting. FYI there was a gift shop with soaps and other items available. I'm not certain but cash may have been required for those items as well. Our tour guide was very informative and we were a small group of just three women with the guide so there was plenty of time to answer all of our questions. Even in a "full" group these small tours are wonderful because you get to know the group and you can move around efficiently and get dropped off close to the old towns where large busses cannot go. This is the second one of these tours I've done and it won't be the last. They cost a little more than the big bus tours, but it's a FAR better experience.
star-5
An easy way to explore Tuscany
outdoorkatrva
, Oct 2019
Guiliamo was a great tour guide/driver. He is very friendly and passionate about history. The day started with a half hour at the castle at Monteriggioni, which is like a little, walled village. I think we had an hour at San Gimignagno. Then we had a delicious lunch at a saffron farm. The farm wasn't fancy, but the view was lovely and our hosts were very warm and welcoming. Then we had maybe around an hour and 15 minutes in Volterra. We stopped at an alabaster workshop on the way there. It was an amazing experience to watch this 87-year-old craftsman make a little bowl. I think that the tour is worthwhile if you don't have your own car and want to get into the countryside and get an introduction to hill towns. It's so easy to have someone else do the driving and great to be able to ask questions of an Italian tour guide. We also did another tour with Tuscan Escapes and had an equally good experience; their guides go through a rigorous training certification program required of Italian tour guides. My criticism would be that there isn't enough time to explore San G. and Volterra; we felt pressed for time and barely had enough time to walk around the towns and no extra time for shopping for visiting a museum, etc. Although the visit to Monteriggioni was nice, I could have definitely forgone that in order to have more time in the towns. However, we were aware about the short time in the towns when we read prior reviews.
star-5
Educational and charming
Paul H
, Oct 2019
Guglielmo is an expert on the history of Tuscany and the role of the various cities and towns dating to the Etruscans. The destinations on the tour are extraordinary in their own right,. But our guide brought them to life with anecdotes and discursions that engaged us all and at times resembled a graduate seminar on Midieval economic history. It was one of our most worthwhile experiences in Italy.
star-5
Wonderful day trip, a highlight of Italy.
Margaret T
, Oct 2019
Guglielmo is a fantastic guide, entertaining, knowledgeable, a great personality. Delightful hosts served us a delicious lunch on the terrace at their saffron farm, overlooking rolling green hills and farms. San Gimignano and Volterra are wonderful medieval villages and lovely scenery en route with a first stop at the small walled village of Monteriggioni. Easy meeting point in Siena.
star-5
Excellent!!!
Guariloca
, Sep 2019
It was a great trip. Departure in time, excellent guide (Giuglielmo) or William, who went the extra mile to ensure all our questions were answered and that we were comfortable. The lunch at the Azienda Agricola Biologica was delicious! Definitely a nice touch. I would not hesitate to recommend this tour. San Gimignano and Volterra are worth the curvy but short road!!!
star-5
Tuscan villages
jual24k
, Sep 2019
Fabulous guide Amber, and small group made this a wonderful tour. Amber was amazing!!!! Highly recommend Tuscan Escapes for all tours in Tuscany.
star-5
A MUST!
Angela J
, May 2019
The local company was absolutely the best. We were 6 in the tour and we all had a blast meeting each other. Don't opt for cheaper tour - do small group - you will NOT regret it!
star-5
Great way to see more!
Rhonda_H
, Oct 2018
Nice day - just enough driving versus visiting. Full day of beautiful scenery and villages. Really enjoyed it.
star-5
We were very fortunate in that our...
edward_s
, Apr 2018
We were very fortunate in that our tour was just the two of us with our excellent tour guide Elena. After a short drive we visited the small walled town of Montereggio, it was very well kept and a nice 15 minute walk around, not much to see, but very cute, as we were leaving 10ish a large tour bus was just arriving ! Next stop was a nice drive to San Gimigano, a stunning town that has many towers 7 was over 70, most of the town is geared towards tourists, lots of shops, restaurants and a few churches, we went up to the old fort area an had some great views over the town and countryside. After 1 1/2 hours of investigating on our own, we then met up with Elena and drove to a local saffron farm for a wonderful lunch, perfect setting and company. After leaving the Saffron farm we stopped at Volterra another beautiful city famous for alabaster, which we visited a workshop to see this stone being worked on and some free time to investigate on our own Our tour guide Elena was a pleasure to be with and she made the day perfect from start to finish. Recommend tour if you like to investigate a little on your own and want to leave the driving/parking t someone else.
star-5
Elena guided us from beginning to...
wayne_n
, Oct 2017
Elena guided us from beginning to end on this fantastic trip touring the idyllic Tuscan countryside. We visited Volterra, charming and historic and San Gimignano, magnificent! The highlight was our lunch at the Tuscan saffron farm, delicious local food with our delightful hosts! Our group of eight were good fun. Elena had very good English and was very engaging and interested in us too! Thank you Elena for a memorable and magnificent day!
star-5
Wonderful day with Elena and 4 other...
Carl R
, Sep 2017
Wonderful day with Elena and 4 other fellow travelers. I really liked the freedom of having time to explore each area on our own -- so it didn't feel like a traditional tour. Also a fabulous lunch at a small agriturismo farm outside of San Gimignano-- some of the best food I've eaten in Italy!
star-5
I was in a group of 4 ladies and we...
Jillian W
, Mar 2017
I was in a group of 4 ladies and we were lucky enough to be the only ones on the trip so had plenty of attention from our guide. Our day was perfect, beautiful, clear weather and we enjoyed every minute. Our guide was very knowledgeable and we learnt so much about the picturesque villages we visited. Delicious lunch was served at a local farm and we had plenty of time to ourselves to explore throughout the day. Would thoroughly recommend this trip!
star-5
Our tour guide, Elena, was fantastic...
Gwendolyn_D
, Oct 2016
Our tour guide, Elena, was fantastic and so energetic.
star-4
Excellent local guide. Spectacular...
Beverley B
, Sep 2016
Excellent local guide. Spectacular scenery. Delicious lunch at saffron/olive farm. Weather - unfortunately it rained so we rushed some of the town in seeking shelter
star-5
The trip gave us further insight...
StanleyAdams_W
, Jul 2016
The trip gave us further insight into medieval towns and the history of the area. Our guide, Miralda was very good with a strong knowledge base of the significant facts that impacted the development of each town and its importance to the surrounding area. The trip was well paced which allowed for questions as well as photo opportunities.

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