San Gimignano and Volterra shore excursion
Feel a sense of calm amid the rolling Tuscan hills and winding streets of two Medieval cities
AT A GLANCE
- 8.00am – pick-up from your ship at Livorno
- 9.30am – arrive in San Gimignano
- 11.30am – leave for Volterra
- 12.00am – arrive in Volterra
- lunch time / wine tasting
- 4.00am – leave for Livorno
- 4.00pm – leave for Livorno
- 5.30pm – arrive at Livorno Cruise Terminal
This itinerary is intended as a guideline only. Our tours are totally flexible and we can take you exactly where you want to go. So just let us know if you want to miss something out, or add something in.
Your driver will pick you up outside your cruise liner in Livorno port at whatever time you choose, normally around 7.45am. Once you’ve got to know each other, and decide exactly what you want to do on your excursion, we’ll head off on the scenic route towards San Gimignano.
On our way we’ll pass through Forcoli, a small village famed for its white and black truffles, where we can stop at a local purveyor for a spot of truffle tasting. Food lovers will be pleased to know the surrounding area is filled with local producers of quality food and wine; please let us know if you would like to experience an hour or two of wine, extra-virgin olive oil or cheese tasting.
We continue our journey through the quintessentially rolling hills, stopping off whenever you like to take stunning photographs of the breath-taking countryside composed of olive groves and cypress trees.
Once we’ve arrived in San Gimignano, a UNESCO World Heritage site, you’ll have plenty of time to stroll through the winding Medieval streets and peer up at the towers for which the city is so famous. Sometimes called the “Manhattan of the Middle Ages”, San Gimignano has 14 towers, though in its heyday the city boasted an impressive 72. Built as a symbol of wealth and power, some towers reached the dizzying heights of 50 meters. If you’re feeling strong you can climb Torre Grossa – the views are well worth the 218 steps.
If a gelato is more your thing, head to Piazza della Cisterna. This beautiful square is home to Gelateria Dondoli, which won not once, but twice the Ice Cream World Championship. Sit on the steps of octagonal well in the center of the square and watch the world go by.
We will then start our journey to Volterra.
Along the way I recommend we stop for lunch at a traditional family-run trattoria (an Italian word for an informal restaurant). Located in a tiny hilltop village, this trattoria serves up local delicacies including homemade pasta, wild boar and fresh mushrooms, with a stunning view over the Tuscan landscape.
After lunch, we will reach Volterra, a perfectly preserved Medieval village which was once one of 12 Etruscan cities.
The Etruscans populated what are now the regions of Tuscany, Umbria and northern Lazio before the Romans. Indeed, the word Toscana comes from the ancient word Etruria, the territory once inhabited by the Etruscans, which over time evolved into Tuscia before reaching its current form.
Volterra is famous for alabaster, a stone that you will see on sale in different forms in many artisan boutiques throughout the city.
During your time in Volterra we recommend you visit:
- Piazza dei Priori
- the Roman theatre
- Porta all’Arco
- the Museum of Medieval Torture
- the Civic Museum of Volterra
- the Duomo
- the city walls
Your driver is at your absolute disposal to make your time in San Gimignano and Volterra as enjoyable, stress-free and authentic as possible. We’ll tell you about the main sites, and will recommend (and book) you a fantastic place to eat. And if there’s anything you need when you’re out and about, you can always contact us by phone.