Colle val d'Elsa is a
densely populated and ancient town centre which was first
dominated by the Bishops, then formed part of a feud by
the Aldobrandini family and, from 1333, it fell into the
possession of the Florentines.
Right from the Middle-Ages, Colle val d'Elsa was famous and
flourished thanks to her wool and paper industries. From
the l5th century onwards, it became an important centre
for the printing industry and the manufacture of glass
All these activities utilized the water energy source
supplied by the river Elsa and exploited by way of a
channel system still in existence today. Like the other
valley centres, Colle val d'Elsa, too, appears divided into two suburbs:
Upper Colle val d'Elsa which has old medieval origins and was
known as Castelvecchio and Lower Colle val d'Elsa, which has been
enlarged by industries, shops, trading companies and
The ancient Upper Colle val d'Elsa preserves 14th
and l6th century walls and buildings, old gates and very
suggestive medieval glimpses. We refer to the l6th century
Campana Building and the daring arch that joins the St.
Catherine Borough with the Castle; the Via del Castello
area is rich in old houses, towers and residences of the
l5th and l6th century; the Duomo, constructed in 1600
over a former Romanesque church, and the Pretorio Building
In Upper Colle, one can visit the ancient tower-house, the
birthplace of Arnolfo di Cambio who was a famous painter and
sculptor and who died in Florence in the year 1302. The huge
square bordered by porches, is dedicated to him. This square
forms the centre of the town life at Lower Colle val d'Elsa of the Plain,
and here we can find the beautiful Gothic church of St. Augu-
stine, with its l3th century facade. The interior has undergone
a Renaissance-type transformation carried out according to the designs by
Antonio da Sangallo.
Preserved here are a Madonna by Taddeo di Bartolo, a panel by
Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, a Deposition by Cigoli and a tabernacle
attributed to Baccio da Montelupo.
Today, Lower Colle possesses a lovely, moden swimming pool,
called " Olympia ", and a beautiful park thus making it the
haunt of many tourists and a sports centre for swimmers.
Look at the map