About saffron and other spices: the flavours of San Gimignano

The scents of San Gimignano embrace the city with a thousand images of medieval towers and anticipate the excellence of spices and herbs.


Lo zafferano di San Gimignano

Every cuisine, as is well known, has those small secrets that make a unique and full tasting dish, often thanks to the use of spices and herbs which enhance the flavour. At San Gimignano, history has fostered the use of a particular ingredient in the culinary tradition: the precious saffron.

If you are looking for unforgettable recipes in a historical and charming setting, the city of the many towers is the right place for you!

“Very beautiful purple flowers and an unmistakable flavour”

It is to the trade of spices and saffron started in the Middle Ages that San Gimignano owes its fortune. The beautiful purple flowers from which the saffron powder is derived, in fact, have always been hugely valuable, and recognised all over Europe and the Middle East.

The magnificent medieval towers, the symbol of the city, were actually built by the many wealthy spice trading families!

Before sitting at the table you can discover these flavours starting from an emblematic place, the Spezieria di Santa Fina. It is a small museum that displays coloured ceramics, alchemists’ alembics and pots from ancient pharmacies, where herbs were mixed for therapeutic purposes. Here, scents and smells are released from the bowls containing the spices, while in the adjacent vegetable garden aromatic herbs are grown, a perfect place to sit outside and test your nose!

In the restaurants and trattorias of the historic centre tradition is served at the table, offering menus with the typical flavours of the area. Besides the delicious spices you can also enjoy renowned products such as cheese, salami and cinta (a special pork meat), together with an excellent red wine or a glass of Vernaccia di San Gimignano DOCG.

Veduta di Torre Grossa, la torre medievale più alta di San Gimignano
Gelato allo zafferano di San Gimignano "Crema di Santa Fina"

At the end of the meal, or after a regenerating excursion along the old Via Francigena, a real treat not to be missed is the artisanal ice cream from the Gelateria Dondoli, not far from Piazza Duomo. In this gelateria, which has also won a few prizes, you will find the flavour of Crema di Santa Fina, prepared indeed with the local saffron! A tasting experience which is totally new, sweet and spiced, ideal to crown your immersion in the centuries-old flavours of San Gimignano, the medieval town that roots its history in the eternal wealth of flowers, spices and towers. Discover its origins!

Would you like to learn more?

Spezieria di Santa Fina e Torre Grossa

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