Colle Val d'ElsaColle Val d'Elsa is a beautiful and ancient town, whose original core housing is perched on a hill (and it is called "Colle Alta"), while the new, productive core is downstream ("Colle Bassa"), location for indultries, workshops and all other town activities.
The town of Colle Val d'Elsa was long disputed between Florence and Siena but was never conquered. Colle di Val d'Elsa shared its fate with other towns of the Elsa Valley, such as San Gimignano , Poggibonsi and Casole d'Elsa , under the shadow of ecclesiastical and civil lords, theater of neverending wars between Guelphs and Ghibellines.
In Upper Elsa Valley passed the Via Francigena, ensuring a high traffic of people and goods and therefore giving wealth and prosperity but economic stability arrived in the sixteenth century together with iron and glass productions.
Today Colle Val d'Elsa is one of the most important centers of Val d'Elsa, with the architectural beauties of the ancient town, the industry of crystal and its lively cultural and touristical activities.
Sightseeing in Colle Val d'Elsa:
Palazzo Campana, one of the loveliest corners of Colle Val d'Elsa. Overlooks the bridge, which was built to replace the old drawbridge.
The arc of Palazzo Campana leads into Via del Castello, the main street of the historical center of Colle Val d'Elsa, lined with numerous patricians buildings representing the civil powers of Colle Val d'Elsa: Palazzo del Capitano of the XVI century (afterwards called "Palazzo Luci"), Palazzo Buonaccorsi (fifteenth century), Palazzo Giusti (XV–XVI century), and the tower–house where the famous architect Arnolfo di Cambio Collehe was born (XIII century), one of the few medieval towers that still remains in Colle Val d'Elsa of many that adorned the city ..
Other places of interest in Colle Val d'Elsa:
Palazzo del Podestà, the Palazzo Pretorio of Colle Val d'Elsa (XIV century) which now houses the Archaeological Museum of Colle Val d'Elsa and the Antiquarian Etruscan "Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli"
The city hall, or Palazzo dei Priori, has a structure dating from the thirteenth, fourteenth century and a frescoed façade with interesting decorative elements. After various restorations the building houses the Museum of Sacred Art, which is accessed by a side staircase.
The Teatro dei Varii, according to tradition has ancient origins: it was the refuge of Saints Faustino and Giovita persecuted in the second century AD, hospital and finally along the Via Francigena, in the mid–eighteenth century, was adapted from the Academy of Varii as a theater. Currently the theater is used for experimental and avant–garde theatrical performances, concerts and art exhibitions.
Colle Val d'Elsa offers to its citizens every year a very interesting theatrical season, and many cultural and artistical events.