The ancient towers of San Gimignano have earned it the nickname of ‘Medieval Manhattan’ – with many of the nearby hilltop farmsteads – aka ‘agriturismos’ – looking out over this unique topography.
A UNESCO heritage site, San Gimignano is a medieval masterpiece whose architecture and urban features have remained unaltered for centuries. What’s more, its location at the centre of Tuscany makes it an excellent base for visiting other famous Italian cities such as Florence, Siena, Lucca and Volterra. One of the best ways to discover such Renaissance treasures while enjoying the rural lifestyle is by staying at an agriturismo – and here are five of the best.
Il Casolare di Bucciano
Blessed with a prime hilltop location, this 16th-century farmstead overlooks San Gimignano and the surrounding slopes. Period furniture, traditional cotto tiles and wooden-beam ceilings define the look and feel, with some of the rooms offering a private garden. A panoramic swimming pool is available, while the spacious junior suite comes complete with a living area and a fireplace. The on-site restaurant serves a seasonal selection of Tuscan classics, to be enjoyed alongside wines and cold cuts made in-house. From €94 per night.
Poderi Arcangelo comprises three farmhouses, the oldest dating back to the 17th century. Each includes rooms, apartments, a swimming pool and private gardens. A certified eco-house inspired by the principles of feng shui is also available. Tasting sessions exploring the farm’s produce are held on a panoramic terrace with views over San Gimignano, and then continue into the bariccaia (barrel room). The agriturismo is located halfway between Florence and Siena. From €102 per night.
Il Palagione is a family-run agriturismo housed in a 16th-century farmhouse, located along the panoramic route linking San Gimignano and Volterra. Its extensive farmland includes 50 acres of vineyards as well as cherry, walnut, and olive trees. The spacious rooms are furnished in keeping with local traditions, boasting a rural yet elegant style. Sleeping up to 12 people, the agriturismo aims to offer a discreet and relaxing stay deep in the Tuscan countryside. From €107 per night.
Fattoria San Donato
Fattoria San Donato occupies an entire medieval hamlet overlooking San Gimignano. At the core of it is a fortified farmhouse, while the ancient watchtower has been repurposed as a tavern. The harvest of saffron takes place in October, but the farm’s products are available all year round. Be it at lunch, dinner, or via a tasting session, guests are presented with an authentic approach to homemade rural cuisine. Including both rooms and apartments, the accommodations combine rustic features with modern comforts. The amenities include a swimming pool and an ancient park. From €121 per night.
Natura e Salute
Natura e Salute is surrounded by the pristine scenery of the Castelvecchio natural park. Its rooms can accommodate two to three people, while a bigger suite and an apartment are also available. Available activities include horse rides through the park, trekking, olive oil, massages, or simply lounging by the pool. Cooking classes are focused on traditional Tuscan dishes, which can also be discovered at breakfast or dinner. Flour, pasta, oil, cured meats and biscuits are some of the organic produce made on-site. From €106 per night.