Unfortunately, cruise ships do not offer tours to explore solely San Gimignano. In reality, all shore excursions include Siena as well. Therefore, as much as these cruise ship tours are enjoyable, the visitor will not have more than a couple of rushed hours in San Gimignano (at the end of the afternoon) to explore the town. On these cruise ship excursions, most time is spent in Siena and on the road: the full tour of the two cities will take around 10 hours.
Livorno Railway Station
Photo: © IQCruising.com
If the cruise ship passenger wishes to have as much time as possible in San Gimignano to explore the town you should consider traveling on your own. This is the best way to visit attractions, browse shops and have time to enjoy a delicious lunch. Undoubtedly, the rental of a car is the best way to explore San Gimignano on your own. The distance between Livorno and the medieval town is 56 miles (90km), the drive will take you trough wonderful landscapes and will take less than 90 minutes. But the cruise passenger can easily travel to the medieval town by train and bus if you don't enjoy driving.
The train to San Gimignano takes around 2 hours and costs € 9.20 one way. The journey from Livorno Centrale Railway Sation to Poggibonsi-S. Gimignano Railway Station requires a change in Empoli. Be aware that there is also the possibility of taking a train with two train changes (one in Pisa and another in Empoli); this should be avoided as it will arrive at the same time and costs almost twice the price.
Once at the Poggibonsi-S.Gimignano Railway Station, which is 3 miles (5km) from San Gimignano walls, you will need to get on the local bus #130 that will take you straight to Porta S. Giovanni, the main entrance of the fortified town. The bus ride takes less than 20 minutes and costs €2.50 one way. Buses depart at 10:20 am; 11:00 am; 11:25 am and 12:30 pm on weekdays. For the return, buses depart at 2:00pm; 2:40pm; 3:00pm and 3:40 pm.
The cruise ship passenger will have between 3 and 4 hours to explore and enjoy San Gimignano, which is more than on a typical cruise ship excursion.HOWEVER, it is advisable to double-check train times if you dock in Livorno on a weekend, as trains and buses will be less frequent, and it may not be feasible to explore San Gimignano on your own by train and bus.
Easy travel example: if you get on the 9:12am train from Livorno Centrale, arriving at Poggibonsi-S. Gimignano at 11:14 am, the bus #130 (departing at 11:25 am) will drop you by Porta San Giovanni before 12:00 pm. You will need to get on the 3:40 pm bus to the Poggibonsi-S.Gimignano railway station. This will allow almost 4 hours to explore the town. The 4:12 pm train from Poggibonsi-S. Gimignano Railway Station will arrive in Livorno 6:38 pm.
In one word: depending on the sailing time of your cruise ship, exploring San Gimignano on your own by train and bus is feasible, will be enjoyable and costs around € 30.00 per person. However, the cruise ship passenger should seriously consider the rental of a car to explore this hidden jewel with more time and without the hassle of a train and bus changing. In fact, renting a car might be the only option if docked at Livorno on a weekend as both trains and buses are less frequent on Saturdays and Sundays.
|08:12 AM *
09:12 AM *
09:30 AM **
10:12 AM *
|2:12 pm *
2:46 pm **
3:12 pm *
4:12 pm *
4:46 pm **
* Change train in Empoli
** Change train in Pisa and Empoli (Freccebianca service)
These times are indicative and may change.
To double check and for train times on weekends visit the english version of Trenitalia Website
If the cruise ship passenger enjoys driving (no gearshift skills are required as you can rent an automatic car). The scenic road between Livorno and San Gimignano offer spectacular views of Tuscany. You will also have the option of getting a GPS when renting a car in Livorno, which will make your driving to San Gimignano easy. The drive will not take more than 90 minutes to cover the 90 km (56 miles) between Livorno and San Gimignano.
There are car parks close to Porta San Giovanni (South) and Porta San Jacopo (North-East). Driving is not allowed inside the town's walls and parking is mandatory. Both entrances are perfect for an exploration of San Gimignano. In the South area, around 500 meters from Porta San Giovanni, parking P1 Giubileo costs € 1.50 per hour. Closer to the entrance the park P2 Montemaggio will cost € 2.00 per hour. On the North area, parking P3 and P4 cost € 2.00 per hour. Car parks only accept cash.
Photo: Management Hotel Cisterna
Approaching San Gimigano
Photo: Markus Mark Public Domain
Porta San Giovanni
Photo: Deror Avi Cc-By-Sa
Entering San Gimigano
through Via San Giovani
IQ Cruising strongly advises a visit to the Tourist Information Office on Piazza Duomo, 1 (right at the heart of town) - open every day between 10:00am and 1:00pm and between 2:00pm and 6:00pm.
How many hours will the cruise ship passenger have to explore San Gimignano?
If traveling on your own, by train or car, you will be having between 3 and 4 hours in town.
For how long do cruise ship excursions stay in San Gimignano?
Usually, after exploring Siena, the ship tours will stop in San Gimignano for a maximum of two hours before returning to the port of Livorno.
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