• Colle di Val d'Elsa
    Colle di Val d'Elsa

The old part of Colle di Val d'Elsa is perched on a high hill and the narrow valleys that surround it previously divided the urban fabric into three sections: the "Plain", "The Old Centre" and "the Castle" today simplified as Uptown and Downtown. There is a custom in the Val d'Elsa of getting things done.  The town also gave the river a leading role to play in the history of the area. The glass industry was first established here at the end of the sixteenth century, a harbinger of the cut glass business for which Colle is world-renowned. But for us modern visitors the town offers countless attractions from the works of art collected in the Town Art Museum and religious art, housed in the Palazzo dei Priori which is itself a work of art, to historical treasures kept in the exceptional collection of the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Museum. This collection boasts unique pieces such as those in the Terrosi collection, such as the very rare "kelebai" from Volterra. But we can not leave Colle route without first walking the streets of the Town which even today bears witness to medieval industrialization, without admiring the cathedral, without paying homage to the tower house at the end of Via del Castello, where tradition has it that Arnolfo di Cambio was born. The former Conservatory of San Pietro, designed by Vasari, the younger, is undoubtedly a treasure-trove of art and architecture and it is intended to house all the town's museums. But Colle's architectural gems do not end here: from Palazzo Campana, which effectively closes off the top of "the Castle" to the Teatro dei Varii, from the Convent of San Francesco in Via delle Volte, a hundred yards stroll that paints a medieval picture of the Castle. There are countless works of art which are kept in Arnolfo's town: starting with those by Cennino Cennini another town glory, a sublime painter who lived between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In short, a jewel of a town where art meets history, thereby creating a lifestyle which for modern visitors also involves fine opportunities for shopping.