So,the dilemma is...do I stay within San Gimignano city walls..or choose a hotel nearby. I did the latter and had no regrets.
Hotel Sovestro is in a lovely spot,nestling in a vineyard strewn valley,within a ten minute bus ride,up the hill,to the main gate into the town.The bus stop is at the main entrance to the hotel and they come past every twenty minutes. We actually walked back on one occasion,using the main road,and it's quite a photo fest,there's also roadside vineyard outlet (a bottle of their excellent Vernaccia €5.5,June'14). It took 30 minutes and it's all downhill,but it is quite a busy road and there are no pavements as such,so I don't think it's something for the elderly or very young.We didn't attempt the back route from the hotel up to town,it's shorter and more scenic,but there were a few Mosquitos around and they seemed to like the taste of my blood.
Driving up to the town found car parks 1 and 2 full (bottom entrance near the bus stop),so used car park 4,at the back end of town and a five minute walk up through the city walls,near the church of St.Agostino (unmissable frescos).San Gimignano needs no endorsement,it's a stunning place.
Whilst having lunch at The Terazza,which appeared to be the external seating restaurant and bar of The Hotel Cisterna,(both very nice),we watched a family arrive and unload their car amidst the busy crowds in The Piazza and didn't envy them. There's no permanent parking within the city,so I don't know how they would go on if the nearest car park was full when they arrived.Incidentally,car park 4,the cheapest,was approx 3€ for half a day.
Hotel Sovestro:Lovely breakfast terrace,extensive breakfast selection of cold meats and cheeses,boiled eggs,tomatoes,cake,bread,etc,(no toast machine or bacon/sausage).Fabulous associated outdoor restaurant (Da Pode),with memorable meals cooked by the hotel owner's wife at very reasonable cost.Large bedroom with balcony (or terrace),HD TV with Sky,large bathroom.Nice bar with indoor/outdoor seating and Dab (German) beer.Spotless interior hotel decor and furniture,large immaculate swimming pool with bar service,small (cool down) pool with waterfall and both with extensive landscaped terrace/gardens and lots of loungers.Very helpful reception and service staff. In a nutshell...I could not fault it.
And,finally,when you travel out to the many nearby tourist areas,you simply step out of the hotel, into your car in the tree lined (cool) car park and off you go.No hassle and no battling through crowds.
We'll be back!