Exploring San Gimignano, Italy
If I didn’t know any better and someone had told me that the medieval town of San Gimignano was actually a small section of the Italy Pavillion in Epcot, I miiiiight just have believed them. Quaint and small, looking practically pretend, San Gimignano offered us the ideal three hour stopover on the way to our hotel in the Tuscan countryside. It was Mother’s Day so parking was sparse, but the few circles we did driving around the area looking for a spot gave us the opportunity to catch a glimpse of some of the most gorgeous greenery and farmland that Italy has to offer. As soon as we entered the first circle of the town’s ancient walls, I was so happy that my dad had suggested we visit. In general, I particularly love small European towns that make you feel like you’ve been sent far back in time. San Gimignano will without a doubt do that to anyone who sets foot within it’s ancient walls.
OUR BEST MEAL:
Address: Piazza della Madonna, 1/a, 53037 San Gimignano SI, Italy
Phone:+39 0577 941948
Why is it that every time I write about a meal we had in Italy, my mouth starts to water? As I prepare to tell you all about the truffle pasta I had at Trattoria Chiribiri, I’m instantly hungry again. Yes, I had truffle pasta (fresh tagliatelle with a creamy sauce) and yes, it was insanely good- one of the best truffle dishes I’ve ever had. It was the kind of meal that quite literally melts in your mouth with each bite and was so rich and delicious without being too heavy.
My dad had his favorite, Riboletta, a hearty Tuscan soup loaded with vegetables, beans and small pieces of bread, simmered to perfection with an explosion of flavor. The kids split one of my favorites, Ravioli di Zucca, (pumpkin ravioli), a sweet and savory dish which teeters between dinner and dessert. Ryan ordered a Tagliatelle al Ragu di Cinghiale (cinghiale= wild boar…a vegetarian’s delight!), which he just about keeled over after trying- because it was THAT good.
The other nice thing about the restaurant was that while it was definitely busy, there was no wait at the time we went. I contribute this to the slightly-off hour we ate lunch (around noon, a little earlier, by European standards), and to the fact that the restaurant was located off the main tourist track of the town. It’s just slightly tucked away, up a few stairs, off of Via San Giovanni, and while it’s quiet, if you sit outside (and you enjoy watching the busy groups of people walk down the street in awe) it provides the opportunity to do just that! The other wonderful thing that the restaurant provided us with- cold and refreshing San Gimignano Vernaccia wine!
FUN FOR THE KIDS!
Enoteca Antica Latteria
Address: Via S. Matteo, San Gimignano SI, Italy
Phone:+39 0577 941952
Aside from the gelato, which always comes in at the top of the list for things kids love in Italy, ours also loved spending time in this fantastic shop that sold Italian delicacies of all kinds! It’s technically an enoteca, which means “wine repository,” but this particular store offered so much more.
Enoteca Antica Latteria sold everything from phenomenal local wines and cheese to the cutest handmade and most wonderfully fragrant soaps that looked just like pieces of fruit (these were- and still are- a hit with our kids, as we ended up taking home a collection of them). The shop had hundreds of different kinds of pastas, cookies, chocolates, candies, coffee, crackers and jams. There was olive oil, cured meats and basically anything else that could possibly tickle one’s fancy, assuming they had a love for Italy and access to all five senses…
This was exactly the kind of experience I was hoping to get out of the extremely historic town and I’m thrilled that our youngsters appreciated it just as much!
A traveler since childhood, Juliana Fraioli Wilson has always had a love for exploring. She is a published writer and an accomplished business owner with a background in music and art. Join Juliana, her husband Ryan, and their two kids in Wanderland! Follow along as they share tips, tricks, recipes and reviews from some of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world.