In preparing for our recent trip to San Gimignano we spent some time researching transportion options. We checked various websites which gave us conflicting information, making finding detailed information difficult and often confusing. So, with what little we obtained in hand, we questioned the locals to find out more about the best options available. This is what we learned.
The cheapest, easiest and quickest way to get to San Gimignano is by bus, with one transfer in Poggibonsi when coming from Florence (the route from Siena to San Gimignano is direct with no transfers). There is an option to travel by train from Florence to Poggibonsi, but since San Gimignano has no train station, the second leg of the journey (from Poggibonsi to San Gimignano) is by bus, anyway. So, purchasing one bus ticket (in one ticket line) is much more convenient than purchasing both a train and a bus ticket. Besides, this is Italy and time schedules are not set in stone and ticketing machines don’t always work properly.
Based on the information and tips we’ve collected, here’s our step by step for getting from Florence to San Gimignano to Siena…
Getting from Florence to San Gimignano:
Step 1: Make your way to the SITA bus station, next to the Firenze SMN train station (see map below)
Step 2: Purchase ticket from the Ticket Office (destination: San Gimignano). Cost is about 7.00€ per person. Be sure to ask the ticket agent which corsia (platform) your bus departs from.
Step 3: Make your way to your designated corsia/platform.
Step 4: Validate your bus ticket using the yellow machines located on the columns near the platforms (usually directly below the information board).
Step 5: Store your luggage; you may have to ask the bus driver to open the storage compartment below the bus.
Step 6: Board the bus, take a seat and enjoy the ride. Trip takes ~50 minutes from Florence to Poggibonsi.
Step 7: In Poggibonsi, the bus stops at the train station where you’ll exit the bus and claim your luggage from the storage compartment.
Step 8: Check the arrivals/departures information board for your departure time and area. Your bus should be #130 to San Gimignano. Note: there is a separate bus #130 going to Siena (THIS IS NOT YOUR BUS). When bus #130 arrives, be sure to ask the driver if this bus is going to San Gimignano. Wait time in Poggibonsi is ~15 minutes.
That said, there may be other buses (#133, for instance) servicing the route to San Gimignano, so it’s wise to double check at the ticket counter to get the correct bus number, verify it on the information board and confirm this with the bus driver.
Step 9: Once you’ve located your bus, store your bags in the luggage compartment. Note: the driver at this station will not automatically open the luggage compartment, so you will have to open it yourself or carry your bags onto the bus.
Step 10: Board the bus to San Gimignano, take a seat and enjoy the ride. Trip takes ~25 minutes from Poggibonsi to San Gimignano.
Arriving in San Gimignano, the bus stops right outside of the main city gate, Porta San Giovanni. Total travel time from Florence to San Gimignano is ~90 minutes.
Getting from San Gimignano to Siena:
Step 1: Purchase your bus ticket (destination: Siena) from the Tourist Information office* or one of the designated ticketing locations in San Gimignano**. Cost is 6.00€ per person. Consider purchasing your ticket at least a day in advance of your departure, since the TI and ticketing locations have limited tickets available.
Step 2: On the day of your departure, you’ll want to be at the bus stop at least 10 minutes prior to time of departure. The official bus stop is located just across the street from the main city gate (Porta San Giovanni).
Step 3: Find bus #130 to Siena. Note: the bus arriving from Siena is usually the same bus departing for Siena. At the time of our visit, the arriving bus from Siena stopped at the ‘drop off’ point at the city gate, and remained there until about 5 minutes after scheduled departure time, then drove a few meters to the bus stop where additional passengers boarded the bus. Since we spotted him near the main gate and asked the driver if this bus was going to Siena, we were able to board early and sit in a shady spot to wait until departure.
Step 4: Store your bags in the luggage compartment. Note: the driver at this stop will not automatically open the luggage compartment, so you will have to open it yourself or carry your bags onto the bus.
Step 5: Board the bus, validate your ticket, take a seat and enjoy the ride. Trip takes ~65 minutes.
Step 6: Once you arrive in Siena, remain on the bus until it makes its final stop at Piazza Gramsci, the main bus stop. Note: This stop is not part of the Siena train station. The train station is located just north of the city at Piazza Fretelli Rosselli.
More information on ticket purchase locations, fares and schedules (in Italian) visit the Siena Mobilita regional bus website.
*San Gimignano Tourist Information office is located in Piazza della Duoma next door to the Palazzo Comunale & Torre Grossa.
**Tickets can also be purchased from a number of ticketing locations, including:
Bar il Piccino – Via San Matteo 91
Idea Libro – Via Baccanella
Società Bar Combattenti (Bar 900) – Via San Giovanni 124
Tabaccheria Poli – Via San Giovanni 59
(check the Siena Mobilita website for updated locations and opening times).