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Colle di Val d’Elsa is an ancient medieval village in the heart of the Tuscan countryside between Siena and Florence. In ancient times, it was divided into three parts: Santa Caterina, Piticciano Castle, and Il Piano, but today, the division is just between the upper and lower parts of the town known as “Colle Alta” and “Colle Bassa”.
Colle Val d’Elsa’s Major Attractions
The upper part of the village is the oldest and where you can admire Porta Nova, one of the entrances to this medieval village. Today, there is a beautiful restaurant where you can taste typical, Tuscan dishes.
You can also visit Palazzo Pretorio, which houses the archaeological museum displaying artifacts from ancient Valdelsa. Don’t miss the Civic and Diocesan Museum, which is situated inside Palazzo dei Priori and houses an important art collection from the area.
Other places worth visiting places are the house tower of Arnolfo di Cambio, an Italian sculptor and architect, and Palazzo Campana, a historic building with an arch with access to Via del Castello, the main street of the old town.
photo copyrights: www.itinerarintoscana.it; mapio.net; www.discovertuscany.com; www.theitaliantouch.org
Another interesting part of the village is the Baluardo, a defensive bastion of the village located near the castle which is now an observation deck. In fact, from here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the lower part of Colle Val d’Elsa and Chianti.
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In order to reach the lower part of the village, you can use La Costa, a very steep pedestrian street, or the glass elevator. Colle di Val d’Elsa is known as the “city of crystal glass” and, indeed, crystal is the symbol of the village. In 2001, the Museo del Cristallo (Crystal Museum) was inaugurated. Inside, you can admire the glassmasters’ creations and watch explanatory videos of the various manufacturing techniques and tools used in the past. In the month of September, Colle Val d’Elsa hosts an annual event called Cristallo tra le Mura with live glassmaking demonstrations and much more.
In the lower part of the village, you can also see Piazza Arnolfo, the main square with a modern fountain at its center.
While you’re in the area, and weather permitting, we also recommend you visit the Colle Val d’Elsa River Park.