Colle di Val d’Elsa

The town of Colle di Val d’Elsa in Tuscany

Colle di Val d'Elsa

The town of Colle di Val d'Elsa in Tuscany

Colle di Val d’Elsa has a congested and uninteresting new town in the valley which often causes visitors to miss its small but attractive old town on the ridge above, overlooking the River Elsa.

Colle di Val d'Elsa
The main piazza of the old town of Colle di Val d’Elsa

The older part of Colle di Val d’Elsa is entered through the huge Porta Nova. The narrow main street has a number of fine 16-17 C patrician villas, including the Palazzo Usimbardi, the Palazzo Buoninsegni, the Town Hall and the Palazzo Campana, located at the entry to the Castello, the oldest part of Colle di Val d’Elsa. This part of the town is characterised by narrow lanes and earlier, 15-16 C palazzi, among them the Palazzo Luci, the Palazzo Morozzi, the Palazzo Giusti and the Palazzo Dini. There are also several Tuscan tower-houses such as the birthplace of Arnolfo di Cambio.

View of Colle di Val d'Elsa
View of Colle di Val d’Elsa old town

Colle di Val d’Elsa is the home of two important provincial museums, the Museum of Civic and Religious Art and the Archaeological Museum, as well as quite a good Museum of Lead-Crystal Glass. It has long been a major centre of Italian crystal glass production. The massive Porta Nuova (Porta Volterrana) is one of the main sights and there are a number of interesting churches both within Colle di Val d’Elsa and nearby, among them the Abbazia di Conéo, a Romanesque structure with many pre-romanesque decorative features.

Worth a visit. More about Colle di Val d’Elsa.