If there are two museums of torture in a small town that should be telling. It should indicate that the natural and historical sites are a little on the weak side.
We came upon this museum as we were about to exit one of the old main gates of the city. Since it was late we didn't go in. However from two folks that just left they indicated it was a waste of money. Who knows for sure but with so many more interesting things to see in town it definitely appeared to us as a tourist trap. There is also a museum with the same exact name in Volterra. They appear related from checking the web site.
The museum is located at Via Della Costello 1.
The cost is 10 euros for adults and 6 euros for children. Hours are from 1000 to 1900 daily.
I love silver jewelries and if I see something that is unusual, I definitely will buy them. I bought jewelries to places I visited.
Unfortunately, there are so many crooks who make jewelries and tell the buyers that they are real but in fact they are just iron coated with a little bit of silver in them! The worst part is that there is no way you can tell as a buyer since there are no sand stones to check them.
When I went to San Gimignano, there is this shop where there are so many beautiful jewelries made of silver and I was attracted to one set (earring and bracelet) with Onyx. The seller told me that these were made of real silver. I bought it for $275.00 and I was so proud wearing them once I got back home. When people asked me where I bought it, I told them "San Gimignano"!
After few months of wearing them, the "Silver" turned into dark red, copperish-looking iron! I didn't even notice it until my co-worker asked: "Are those supposed to be silver and red?" referring to my earrings. I was so mad investing so much money on a piece of junk!
I decided that as a lesson never to be hooked on buying any jewelries anymore. I actually tried to find my receipt so I can let you know the name of the place.
Also, most of those "Silver" jewelries made in China and Thailand are fake! I was told that the real ones have the number "925" numbers finely printed or marked on the jewelries. It means that the jewelry is real.
The stores in San Gimignano have beautiful Murano jewelries. These are glass jewelries with beautiful designs. They are handblown glasses from the magnificent town of Murano!
If you are attracted to these Murano jewelries, make sure to bargain them. Don't get trap in locked in prices! There are so many stores throughout Italy that sells Murano jewelries.
I bought about 15 Murano jewelries here not knowing about the prices. I thought these will be great gifts during Christmas time but later, I found out that I bought them at a super high price!
I saw many of these later in Florence, Italy. Worst, I had seen them in a store that get them at a cheaper price! Also, when I got back to the United States, they were selling them at the mall!
San Gimignano is one of the most fascinating little towns in Tuscany, you must visit it if you're near Florence. Watch out in the Piazza del Cisterna tho, the pickpockets love this square! We were in a tobacconist's shop there buying stamps when a nearby guy (he was there w/his girlfriend) started messing w/the back compartment of my fellow traveler's backpack. Little bastard was pretty brazen about doing it too; even when I noticed him & slapped his grubby little paw, he cont'd to try & open the zipper. Slapped his hand again & he stopped & we left the store. To our annoyance, they both cont'd to follow us across the piazza, so we made a fake stop to check our things & they walked right by. They must've known we were on to them, so they strolled off looking for the next of their hapless victims.
What I remember distinctly was that they were both quite well-dressed, not like the orphans in the Roman subway we'd encountered a few days before. They basically looked like European tourists & were quite good at exploiting the disguise. Shows that you can't know who's gonna take advantage of you until it happens.
You may need to use a credit card to get out of the parking lots with gate arms. Coins do not always seem to work. Communication can be a problem unless you leggere Italiano for how it works. Otherwise you are stuck in the lot
With the very high walls, and the narrow streets, it would be quite easy to wonder off and not figure out how to get back! Especially if you are captured by the breathtaking views.
If you are with a group on a time schedule, get some sort of map.
We didn't have a map, and we had some nervous moments!
If you are traveling independently, then get lost! It will be well worth it.
There are a lot of steps leading up to the top- in fact, the last bit is only a ladder. The view is good or so my DH tells me. I did not make it partly because the step bit is made up of steel grilles which means as you come down you can see. For me very off putting.
See also tip on the tower.
Do not go there on a Sunday, and probably not Saturday either, it is impossible to park nor move around, there are heaps of people! If the weather is bad perhaps the situation is better. Public holidays or vacation time (august) is out of question. The place is incredibly crowded and messy!!!
We rented a car. Which was very convenient.
Please keep in mind that this little place is in the middle of nowhere in a very hilly landscape with a lot of strange turns in the road ahead and that italy doesn't light his roads in the dark.
So if you feel insecure behind the wheel , don't do this in wintertime and keep in mind it is always sooner dark then you hoped it would be.
My wife is showing you the right way to live your journey in Tuscany.
BTW -- just kidding, but I must say that many tourists, expecially foreigners, forgive me for this, are not so polite when visiting Italy. And often the same people shout scandalized when we italian extinguish a cigarette to the ground
Check out my travelogue for all kind of strange animals met in San Gimignano. Especially, if you have kids with you make sure that they know not to play with these fellas.