Essential guide for cruise passengers to the port of Livorno to travel to San Gimignano by rail, public bus, or car rental (incluiding where to park).
Unfortunately, cruise ships do not offer tours to explore solely San Gimignano. In reality, almost all shore excursions include Siena as well.
As much as these cruise excursions are enjoyable, the visitor will not have more than a couple of hours, at best, in San Gimignano (at the end of the afternoon) to explore the town.
Explore San Gimignano On Your Own
On these shore excursions, most time is spent in Siena and on the road as the full tour of the two cities will take around 10 hours. Therefore, 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.
Car Rental or Local Guides
Undoubtedly, the rental of a car is the best way to explore San Gimignano on your own. Another option is to travel to San Gimignano with a local guide as there are many available online.
By Rail and Bus
Traveling by rail from Livorno to San Gimignano takes around 2 hours and costs € 9.20 one way. The journey from Livorno Centrale Railway Station to Poggibonsi-S. Gimignano Railway Station requires a change in Empoli.
Livorno Railway Station
Photo: © IQCruising.com
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.
From the San Gimignano Railway Station to the Walled Town
Once at the Poggibonsi-San 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.
Getting There and Back
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.
For the return journey, 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.
Train Schedule from Livorno to San Gimignano
To San Gimignano by Rail
|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
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.
Driving to San Gimignano and Car Rental
If the cruise ship passenger enjoys driving (no gearshift skills are required as you can rent an automatic car) this will be the best way of traveling to San Gimignano. 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 56 miles (90 km) between Livorno and San Gimignano.
Car Rental at Livorno Port
Photo: © IQCruising.com
Cruise Travelers will find Car Rentals at the Port of Livorno but it is advisable to book online ahead of time. Read More about Car Rental in Livorno Port.
Parking in 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. Be aware that parks only accept cash.