Its name means “Hill of Elsa Valley“, where “Elsa” is the name of the river which crosses it. Today, Colle di Val d’Elsa is internationally renowned for the production of crystal glassware and art (15% of world production). The oldest part of the town is the “colle alta“, the higher part, with a well preserved medieval center.Usually tourists don’t plan to come here, they see the old walls and tower bell and they decide to stop because they are anchented by the sight!! Just 10 minutes drive from Casa Podere Monti ( 10 km).
The town lies along the old roman road Via Francigena pilgrimage route, which gave it an early market boost. The town is devided into two levels : the old high part ( with historical buildings and narrow streets) and the low part ( modern and active). In the lower town you can find many shops dedicated to crystal. Do you wanna know why? Because 15% of the world’s crystal and 95 percent of Italy’s crystal is produced here, right in little Colle di Val d’Elsa! Glass production was introduced in the 17th century by the nobel Usimbardi family. The paper industry was replaced by the new iron and glass industries. The production of glass evolved into lead-glass crystal production and this became the principal industrial activity of Colle di Val d’Elsa, which became known as the Bohemia of Italy in the 19 C.
Museums to Visit:
We suggest to visit the Archeological Museum and the Civic and Diocesan Museum, both located in the old historical center at Via del Castello in the high part of the town. The first museum contains finds from the upper Elsa valley, the latter important art from the area.
The Crystal Glass Museum is located in the lower part of the city at Via Fossi 8. In the museum you will see a collection of handmade crystal glass from medieval times to the XX century as well as manufacturing techniques.
Restaurants that we suggest :
- Le Grazie : Via Volterrana 41 ,Colle di val d’elsa
- Officina della cucina popolare : Via del Gracco secco 86, Colle di Val d’elsa
Weekly market: Friday morning 7.00/13.00