Top 8 Museums
to visit in San Gimignano
on a cruise to Livorno in 2023

Everything you need to know about the best Museums and Artworks in San Gimignano for passengers on a cruise to the Port of Livorno

Updated: May 21, 2023

Considering that San Gimignano is a small medieval town you will not find a large number of museums although a couple are highlights not to be missed.

Overview for Cruisers

Besides the artworks to be found in the Churches of San Gimignano, the cruise ship traveler should be aware that most of the major artworks that once decorated the churches of this medieval town are now exhibited in museums such as the Museo Civico (Town Hall), the Museo d’Arte Sacra (Museum of Sacred Art) and the Museo Archeologico/Spezieria di Santa Fina (Archaeological Museum).

A visit to the museum San Gimignano 1300, displaying a fabulous reproduction of the Medieval City, is mandatory if you have the time. The Museo del Vino (Wine Museum) is a must-try for wine enthusiasts. The Galleria Continua is for those into contemporary avant-garde art. The Museum of Torture can be disturbing.

Must Know: Priced at € 7.50, the combined ticket to visit all major sites of San Gimignano includes the Civic Museum, the Museum of Sacred Art and the Archaeological Museum. This special ticket also offers a discount of € 1.00 on car parking.

1. Museo Archeologico/Spezieria di Santa Fina
(Archaeological Museum)

San Gimignano’s archaeological museum features primarily artifacts from the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval time periods found during excavations in the surrounding areas. Most of the objects on display are everyday items like plates, vases, and necklaces. There are, however, also cinerary urns that very much resemble those found in Volterra.

Photo of Museo Archeologico Spezieria Galleria in San Gimignano

Museo Archeologico - Spezieria

Photo: Nicola Quirico CC-By-SA

The Museo Archeologico is also home to the Spezieria di Santa Fina, a reconstructed 16th-century pharmacy that houses ancient pharmacy pots and examples of the types of medicinal herbs and spices used during that time period.

Where: Piazza Duomo
Open: April 1 to October 31: 9:30 am - 6:30 pm
November 1 to February 28: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm | March: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed: December 25 and January 1
Entrance: € 7.50 - Combined Ticket for all Civic Museums
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2. Museo Civico - Torre Grossa
(Town Hall and Great Tower)

The Museo Civico is housed in the Palazzo del Popolo aka Palazzo Comunale and is reached by crossing through a pretty courtyard into the Sala Dante. Here, visitors will find “Maesta,” a fresco painted by Lippo Memmi in 1317. In a small room off to the right, which may have been the private office of the commune's chief magistrate, a series of racy frescoes painted by Memmo di Filippuccio decorates the walls.

Photo of Museo Civico Di Filippino Lippi Angelo A in San Gimignano

Museo Civico - Filippino Lippi

Photo: Public Domain

The Museo Civico’s collection also includes works by Pinturicchio, Filippino Lippi, and several other 13th to 15th-century painters from the Florentine and Sienese schools. Admission to the Museo Civico also includes access to the Torre Grossa, which is adjacent to the Palazzo del Popolo. The steep climb is worth it for the incredible views at the top.

Where: Piazza Duomo, 2
Open: April 1 to October 31: 9:30 am - 6:30 pm
November 1 to February 28: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm | March: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed: December 25 and January 1
Entrance: € 7.50 - Combined Ticket for all Civic Museums
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3. Museo d’Arte Sacra
(Museum of Sacred Art)

The Museo d’Arte Sacra adjoins the Church of Santa Maria Assunta and houses a beautiful collection of religious articles that are worth a look even after visiting the abundantly decorated Collegiata. The museum features frescoes by Bartolo di Fredi, Benozzo Gozzoli, Taddeo di Bartolo, and Barna da Siena, Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Photo of Piazza Duomo in San Gimignano

Museum of Sacred Art

Photo: Sailko CC-By-SA

Visitors will also find on display 14th-century wooden sculptures, the “room of silvers,” the Crocifisso di Giuliano, illuminated songbooks, and liturgical vestments. The highlight of the museum is the fresco of the Madonna and Child by Bartolo di Fredi.

Where: Historical Centre
Address: Piazza Duomo
Open: April 1 to October 31 Mon to Fri: 10:00 am - 7.30 pm | Sat.: 10:00 am - 5.30 pm | Sun. and holy days: 12.30 am - 7.30 pm
Closed: March 12; 1st Sunday of August; November 15 and 30; December 25; January 1, 15 and 31
Entrance: € 4.00 Combined Ticket (Duomo, Chapel of St. Fina and Museum of Sacred Art): € 7.50
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4. Museo Ornitologico
(Ornithological Museum)

Housed in what used to be the church of San Francesco this is a one of a kind museum with a display of 371 stuffed birds. The collection of over 1,250 samples was a donated by the Marchesa d'Aragona Paolucci who was a passionate ornithologist.

Photo of Museo Ornitologico in San Gimignano

San Gimignano - Museo Ornitologico

Photo: Markus Mark Public Domain

The frescoes by Lorenzo Ciardi are another good reason to visit this museum/church.

Where: Historical Centre
Address: Via Quercecchio
Open: April 1 to September 30 | Everyday: 11:00 am - 5:30 pm
Closed: October to March
Entrance: FREE

5. San Gimignano 1300
(Reproduction of the Medieval City)

The Museum of San Gimignano 1300 is a museum, art gallery, and medieval experience all in one. The main attraction is a ceramic reconstruction of San Gimignano as it was in 1300 when all of its 72 towers were still standing, the museum offers visitors so much more in its nine areas detailing different aspects of the city.

Photo of model of San Gimignano in 1300

Model of San Gimignano in 1300

Photo: Public Domain

There are exhibits featuring Via Francigena, a reconstruction of a city tower, a theatrical production showing what life was like in the Medieval town, panels displaying San Gimignano’s history, and much more. The ten main galleries of the Museum San Gimignano 1300 is a must on the city’s list of attractions.

Where: Historical Centre
Address: Via Costarella, 3
Open: January and February: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm | May to November: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

6. Museo del Vino
(Wine Museum)

The Museo del Vino is housed within San Gimigano’s historic fortress, on the Villa della Rocca Montestaffoli, and is often a favorite stop during a visit to the city. Visitors are not allowed to wander the museum independently, but that is fine because a knowledgeable sommelier will happily lead the way through the exhibits.

Photo of Villa della Rocca Montestaffoli in San Gimignano

Villa della Rocca Montestaffoli

Photo: Public-Domain

The entrance is free and for a small fee, the Museo del Vino offers wine tasting of some of Tuscany’s most well-known white wines. This is a must-see attraction for wine enthusiasts, and will be appreciated even by those who know nothing of wine.

Where: Historical Centre
Address: Villa della Rocca Montestaffoli
Open: April 1 to November 1 - every day from 11.30 am to 6.30 pm
Entrance: FREE

7. Galleria Continua
(Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery)

In a city right out of medieval times, three friends – Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi, and Maurizio Rigillo – did the unexpected. They established a contemporary art gallery.

Located in a former cinema in a forgotten corner of San Gimignano, the Galleria Continua opened its doors in 1990. Since then, the gallery has stunned the public with its continuously exciting and unexpected contemporary work. The Galleria Continua strives to display work that would appeal to a broad spectrum of the population, which always makes a visit surprisingly delightful.

Where: Piazza Duomo, 2
Open: April 1 to October 31: 9:30 am - 6:30 pm | November 1 to February 28: 11:00 am - 5:00 pm | March: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Closed: December 25 and January 1
Entrance: € 7.50 - Combined Ticket for all Civic Museums

8. Museo della Tortura e di Criminologia Medievale
(Museum of Torture and Medieval Crime)

The Museo della Tortura e di Ciminologia Medievale is as fascinating as it is gory. There are more than 100 exhibits that provide visitors with an unflinching and detailed lesson on the torture mechanisms used during medieval times.

Located in a dungeon of the Torre del Diavolo, the exhibits feature actual instruments of torture and authentic reproductions of how they were used. Some of the tools on display include thumbscrews, masks, iron maidens, racks, and chastity belts. And if the exhibits are not self-explanatory enough, each has a detailed explanation written out in a variety of languages.

Where: Historical Centre - next to Porat San Giovani
Address: San Giovanni, 123
Open: Everyday: 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Entrance: € 12.00

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