Shopping San Gimignano Livorno Port Destination | IQCruising

Shopping - San Gimignano

Best Shopping: What and Where


Most cruise ship passengers do not travel to San Gimignano to shop, especially since there is not one single shopping district. Dedicated shoppers would have the best luck wandering around the Piazza del Duomo or Piazza della Cisterna, and along the Via San Matteo for the widest selection of souvenir shops. Beyond the usual tourist kitsch, cruise ship passenger will find books, leather, glass, wine and gourmet delicacies for sale. San Gimignano is a small medieval town with a quaint ambience, so don't expect to find typical fashion brands and even less the famous Italian fashion design shops.


San Gimignano is famous for its white wine - the 'Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG'.

Photo of bottle of Vernaccia Wine in San Gimignano

San Gimignano - Vernaccia Wine

Photo: Public Domain

This is a wine that has been appreciated for centuries by such personalities as the poets Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio and powerful men like Ludovico il Moro and Lorenzo il Magnifico. So perhaps the best (and tastiest) souvenir to bring back from the city is a bottle of Vernaccia from one of its many enotecas and wine shops. Other regional wines to look for: San Gimignano Rosso DOC; San Gimignano Rosato DOC; San Gimignano Vin Santo DOC; and Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG.


Another fun shopping option in San Gimignano is to peruse the gourmet shops found all over the city.

Photo of Pasta in San Gimignano

Pasta Galore

Photo: Deror Avi Cc By Sa

The local specialty most often found in these types of establishments is cinghale (wild boar). This may not make it to the airplane home, but take some sausage or cut of meat back to your cruise ship for a tender, earthy snack that goes perfectly with crusty bread drizzled with some San Gimignano olive oil. Or choose a bag, or two, from wide selections of pasta.

Besides being a UNESCO heritage site, with an amazing history and uniquely fascinating ambience, San Gimignano is in the heart of a fertile agricultural area of Italy. The ancient traditions of the town do also include this aspect and the rural qualities of the surroundings can be found in the excellence of wines and olive oil, but also in saffron, cheese, honey and smoked derivatives of pork.

Photo of Enoteca Gustavo in San Gimignano

Cured meats at Enoteca Gustavo

Photo: Management

Cured Meats to look for: Prosciutto Toscano Dop - typically aromatic flavored and a must taste; Spalla (shoulder ham); Salame toscano, (Tuscan Salami) - produced with the most valuable parts of the pig; Finocchiona - similar to salami with smoother mixture; Soprassata - produced with the less valuable parts of the pig but the most savoury ones; Buristo, a type of salami where pork blood is cooked with the meat.

Another local delicacy to buy is the traditionally produced cheese (usually with ewe's milk) and especially the ripe or underripe pecorino. Take notice that every cheese has different flavors depending on the pasture and wild herbs of the area. Cheeses to look for: Pecorino Fresco (Underripe Cheese) - sweet, aromatic, semi-hard texture; Pecorino Semistagionato (medium matured cheese) - aged for at least 40 days, strong and aromatic flavour; Pecorino stagionato (matured cheese) - aged for at least 120 days, it has a dark rind, velvety flavours, fabulous with San Gimignano Rosso Doc.

There are also several markets in San Gimignano that may offer up some good bargains and a fun time for the experienced haggler. If you are lucky enough to dock in Livorno on a Thursday and are planning to explore San Gimignano, don't miss the markets that take place in the Piazza del Duomo and the Piazza della Cisterna.

Best Buys


Photo of Vernaccia in San Gimignano

San Gimignano - Vernaccia

Photo: Public Domain

Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG: first mentioned in 1276, it is the most famous of all wines in the region. It has a golden, straw-yellow colour with fruity and flowery aromas in an elegant bouquet.

San Gimignano Rosso DOC: red produced with Sangiovese grapes, is ruby red, dense, powerful and with a great capacity for aging.

San Gimignano Rosato DOC: rosé produced with Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes, has cherry color, floral aromas and ripe fruit.

San Gimignano Vin Santo DOC: classic dessert wine produced with Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes can be more or less sweet.

Chianti Colli Senesi DOCG: red produced with Sangiovese and Canaiolo grapes, has a bright ruby color, with cherry and violet aromas.

Find more on these wines on:

Photo of Vernaccia in San Gimignano

San Gimignano - Vernaccia

Photo: Public Domain


Saffron: probably the best in all Italy.

Olive Oil: it has a gentle taste with a fruity aroma.

Honey: among 15 different varieties, the one produced from acacia flowers is famous.

Cheese: Pecorino in all varieties (underripe, medium matured and matured).

Cured Meats: Prosciutto Toscano Dop; Salame toscano (Tuscan Salami); Finocchiona; Soprassata; Buristo.


Can the cruise ship passenger take wine back to the ship?
You will be allowed to take back wine to the ship. However, depending on the cruise line, you may not be able to drink it onboard. In general, luxury and upper-premium cruise lines allow passengers to take the wine to the rooms and, if you wish to drink it in public (at a bar or restaurant) a cork fee will be charged. Other cruise lines, will 'take' the wine from you at the gangway and will return it to you at the end of the cruise.

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Last Update: February 9, 2016

The information on this page was accurate when last updated but changes may have occurred without notice.
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