Corinna B’s World Goes To San Gimignano ~ The Glam Italia Tour

San Gimignano, Tuscany

 San Gimignano is my home in Italy.
Nestled on a hilltop between Florence and Siena, this little, walled, medieval town is known as the “Town Of Fine Towers”, due to the unforgettable skyline created by the remaining 14 towers that proudly watch over the neighboring hills and vineyards stretching their way across Tuscany. At one time there were more than 70 towers in this tiny town, playing an architectural game of “my one’s bigger than yours”.



 I just adore this beautiful place.






Buy local olive oils and cheeses in San Gimignano



At home in America when my crazy life gets too stressful, when I can’t sleep at night, or when life gets too complicated, I close my eyes and make the drive from Poggibonsi, through all the roundabouts, and up the winding hill, past the olive oil stand and the wineries, and in to San Gimignano.

My parking spot sits beside a giant nespole tree which bares the most beautiful fruit.

From there in my mind I walk to the Porta San Matteo and take in every store and coffee shop along the via San Matteo, sometimes stopping at Lucia and Maria’s for my daily caffe and slice of Mandorlata, sometimes just walking straight to the lovely Piazza Duomo and my beautiful attic apartment.
It is the quintessential de-stresser.

Grab a caffee and a slice of panforte at Lucia and Maria’s on via San Matteo


Thursday morning market in San Gimignano


Market day in San Gimignano, Tuscany

I love the Thursday morning market in Piazza Duomo and Piazza Cisterna



Enjoy a prosecco in Piazza Cisterna after the tourists have gone for the day
Enjoy a gelato or just chill at Piazza Cisterna, The cisterna was built in 1287

Take time to look inside the cisterna, There are deep grooves in the stone rim from centuries of ropes hauling up buckets of water.


Make sure you explore the back streets of San Gimignano

If you ever come to  San Gimignano, make sure you stay until after all the tourist buses leave at 5pm. Enjoy an early evening Prosecco in the Piazza Cisterna and take a sunset walk along the top of the walls that encircle the town. Take in the view, and breathe in the magical air of one of the loveliest places I know.


Piazza Cisterna in San Gimignano before the tour buses arrive in the morning



Via San Matteo in San Gimignano before the tour buses arrive


San Gimignano is magic at the end of the day when the tourists are gone
Stroll along the walls when all the tourists have left for the day

All images are my own. Please do not use without my written permission.

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Podere Cunina standing watch over the Val D’Orcia

Every year I like to spend a few weeks in Italy.
Actually I would like to spend endless months there, but have to settle for weeks instead.
Tuscany has become my home away from home.

People always ask me where to stay in Tuscany, especially if they are not seeking out an overly homogenized hotel experience.
Personally I love to rent an apartment, rent a car and drive around Tuscany, finding endless spectacular towns and villages that aren’t in the guide books.

Podere Cunina, Buonconvento, Tuscany

I like to be super close to Florence, and not too far from Rome. In a country with such a fantastic rail system, I like to be close enough to a train station that it’s easy to make a last minute day trip to Venice, or maybe Pompei – wherever feels like fun that day.

one of the patios at Podere Cunina, Buonconvento, Tuscany

I like to chill out in the piazza, drink cappuccinos and watch the world go by. Shop at local markets for fresh produce,all grown inside a 10 mile radius and picked to be sold today, with flavor that just explodes in your mouth. (Unlike the flavorless factory farmed produce here in the US)
There’s nothing quite like having a local vendor choose items for you, and tell you how to prepare them the way generations of their families have been doing for centuries, and then going home to your gorgeous Tuscan apartment, throwing it together and enjoying it, truly enjoying it with a local Sangiovese, or maybe a Brunello, living the luxe life.

I love filling my Italian apartment with freshly picked wildflowers and sprigs of fresh rosemary, the combined olfactory delight of which tells my brain I’m really, truly here.

My dear friend Silvana is living the life I dream of.
Together with her husband Piergiorgio she bought an old, run down farmhouse on a little hill overlooking the spectacular Val D’Orcia. They rebuilt, refurbished and restored it using traditional materials, creating a home that at the same time is visually mesmerizing, maintains historical truth but is equipped with all the modern conveniences. Its called Podere Cunina.

Beautiful Podere Cunina in Buonconvento Tuscany

The stonework, the iron work, the colors are achingly beautiful.

Part of the restoration project involved creating 7 apartments to rent to vacationers.

One of the apartments at Podere Cunina, Tuscany

Apartment at Podere Cunina, Tuscany

Apartment at Podere Cunina, outside Buonconvento Tuscany

Apartment at Podere Cunina

 There are 2 two bedroom apartments and 5 one bedroom apartments, each of which is just gorgeous.

Apartment at Podere Cunina, Tuscany

Podere Cunina is located 3 kms outside of Buonconvento, near Siena. An easy drive from either Rome or Florence it places you in the ideal location from which to drive around Tuscany and really experience the majesty of this amazing part of the world.

After a long day of enjoying yourself it is just lovely to sit out on the patio area and have a prosecco as you watch the sun set over neighboring Montalcino (one of my favorite villages in all of Italy).

The pool at Podere Cunina, near Buonconvento, Tuscany

 Wine lovers adore the region, as it is home to the Brunello, one of my all time favorite reds.

Prosecco time at Podere Cunina as the Tuscan Sun sets

Silvana is the ultimate host. She always has loads of ideas of great places to go see and experience. She always tells me about fabulous villages that the tour buses (thankfully) don’t know about, is endlessly knowledgeable about where the best local markets are and when, which restaurants and cafe’s you mustn’t miss, and has the most wonderful stories about this spectacular slice of the world.

Lovers of Frances Mayes’ Under The Tuscan Sun, and her subsequent tomes about her life in Tuscany will love driving to Cortona, which is not too far away, and spending the day walking through every moment in her delicious Tuscan world. (I think at this point I probably know her books by heart)

3 million years ago the Val D’Orcia was under the ocean, which is no doubt why the hills have the most beautiful undulating roll to them. A couple of years ago some guests were walking through the fields on the beautiful Podere Cunina property and picked up a perfectly formed shark’s tooth, that scientists later dated as being 3 million years old.
You just never know what you’re going to find in this wonderful place!

Summer is not the only time to enjoy Tuscany. Spring and autumn are beautiful, and this year if everything goes as planned we are hoping to touch down in Tuscany over the winter too.

If staying on a glamorous little farm is a bit to rural for you, Silvana also rents out an apartment in beautiful San Gimignano, which is my Italian home, and which I can never go a single day without thinking about.

If you would like to know more about Podere Cunina or about vacation rental in Tuscany, click this link:
 Agriturismo Podere Cunina