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Reviewed October 7, 2012

After a week in Madrid on my own (see my review for Hostal Oriente), I met my brother in Italy. We stayed a few days in Florence, Rome and then 5 nights from the 20th September 2012 in San Gimignano at the Monastery of San Girolamo. We found the accommodation very good. My brother found this place through a travel book and I was able to organize my booking by emailing the nuns directly. At 27E a night or 30E including breakfast, the price was unbeatable.

I should explain before I go ahead, that we are native Italian speakers and when we arrived at the convent, I discovered that the Benedictine Nuns there are actually a closed order. This means that they are allowed to have only the most minimal contact with the public. In fact, it is only in recent times that they have had permission to cross the road from the monastery to look after some land which is part of the monastery's property. Apart from that, they do not leave the monastery. One of the nuns there had not left the building in over 30 years.

This perhaps might explain some of the "unfriendliness" experienced by previous reviewers.

Before I left Australia, I was lucky to find comments on the Internet (I think it was the Lonely Planet or Fodors website) which warned me about where to ring the bell in order to be checked in.

Basically, the check-in times are 9.00 - 12.00 and 15.30 - 17.30.
There are 2 major doors with bells and intercom. You need to ring the monastery bell, not the dormitory bell. When you do that, the nun will direct you to the other door where they have a counter for you to check-in. Basically, they just attend that counter as each guest arrives. You are then given a key for your room and a key for the front door. There is no curfew and you are free to come and go as you please. However, if you need them for anything, you just need to go to the monastery door and there will always be someone to answer the bell and help you.

If you decide to pay for your breakfast as well, it is served between 8.00 -10.00 and they lay everything out for you in the eating area every morning but you never see the nuns. Breakfast will be bread, jam, butter, juice. You can make coffee or tea in the kitchen.

The times that my brother and I were able to run into one of the nuns (there are 4 of them), we always found them very happy to talk to us and we always felt very welcome. I think that because of the nature of their order, they are actually very happy to spend some time talking...

Personally, I found my stay here excellent. My brother and I booked 2 separate rooms with their own bathrooms. The rooms and bathrooms were huge (they are usually rooms that accommodate more than one guest but you are charged for single accommodation if it is just for one person). The view from our rooms was beautiful. Just around the side of the monastery, there is a lovely bench where you can spend time relaxing in-between all the sight-seeing.

Just one more thing, the best place to get off the bus from Poggibonsi when you reach San Gimignano is at the Porta San Matteo. You will be only 10 - 15 minutes' walk to the monastery. If you continue to the next stop (Porta San Giovanni) you will find yourself at the opposite end of town (as happened to my brother and I) and you will have to walk uphill for most of the way.

It was my first time in San Gimigrano and I was enchanted with the place. After 5 days there, there were still many nooks and crannies that were left undiscovered for another time to explore further. If I am lucky enough to be able to return to this lovely village, I will certainly try to stay at the same monastery again.

Room tip: We had rooms facing the front and there is quite a bit of traffic that goes through there. It didn't bother us, but if you have trouble sleeping, ask if they have a room facing the back.
Date of stay: September 2012
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
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2  Thank Sabrina09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 5, 2012 via mobile

Getting into this monastry is a challenge, even if you have a booking. You need to know to go to the main gate jn the wall,mnot the one the bus stops at and then to go to the door one car length back from the stop light. don't expect a sign but if you are lucky a lovely lady will be at the desk. This only seems to be a couple of hours before lunch. Otherwise you can't get in at all unless you have a key. We stayed several days and did not see another person after breakfast on the first day. This was a nun who would hardly talk to us, staying about two minutes to show us the breakfast and hurried away. Breakfast is included but forget it, even the coffee was terrible.

At the moment this is only a choice for experienced travellers who don't mind sorting problems and being totally self reliant. A pity because it is a good position and the rooms have nice outlooks but couldn't recommend or even guarantee that you will get in.

Date of stay: September 2012
    • Value
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3  Thank Eartag
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 24, 2018 via mobile
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Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed June 17, 2018 via mobile
Google Translation

Date of stay: June 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed December 1, 2017 via mobile
Google Translation

Date of stay: December 2017
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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