Val d'Elsa
Val d'Elsa

Spending one day in Colle di val d’Elsa

Which are the things to do in Colle di val d’Elsa?

Colle di val d’Elsa s a charming medieval village situated along the road between Florence and Siena. The urban area of Colle di Val d’Elsa was organized in three parts: the Piano (today Colle Bassa), the Castello and the Borgo that today make up Colle Alta.

Colle Bassa

The visit starts from Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio, the eminent architect and sculptor born in Colle val d’Elsa. This beautiful and wide square, venue of the weekly market of Colle di Val d’Elsa, was created in the nineteenth century in the middle of Colle Bassa.

Museo del Cristallo

From Piazza Arnolfo di cambio take via dei Fossi until you reach the Museo del Cristallo (Museum of crystal). Housed in a former glass factory, the museum traces the history of the glass industry in Colle di Val d’Elsa. This industry is particularly important and developed, considering that 95% of Italian crystal is produced here and nearly 15% worldwide.

Opening hours:
October-April: tuesday-sunday 10.00-13.30 and 14.00-17.00 (closed on Monday)

Tickets: regular 4 euro; reduced 2,50 euro

Official website

One day in Colle di val d'Elsa - Museo del cristallo - Forest of crystal
Museo del cristallo – Crystal forest

Chiesa di Sant’Agostino

Continuing along via dei Fossi you arrive at Piazza Sant’Agostino where it overlooks the homonymous Chiesa di Sant’Agostino; An interesting church with 13th century façade unfinished. The interior, transformed in the 16th century according to a design of Sangallo il Vecchio, hosts many artworks from the sixteenth century.

Colle di val d'Elsa Chiesa di Sant'Agostino
Church of Sant’Agostino (Photo by LigaDue / CC BY)

From Sant’Agostino wolk to Castello passing the Porta Guelfa, which was once part of the walls of the Piano.

Colle Alta

The Castello and the Borgo (Castle and hamlet) make up the most interesting quartier of the town. Here, in a context that has preserved its medieval traits, we find the Duomo, the Archaeological Museum named after the famous archaeologist Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli and the Complesso museale di San Pietro.

Il Duomo

The Concattedrale dei Santi Alberto e Marziale, built in the beginning of the 17th century instead of a romanesque parish church, has a neoclassical facade made by Agostino Fantastici (1814). The interior, with three naves, presents an interesting collection made by pieces of art dating 17th century.

Archaeological Museum

Named after the great great scholar Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli (if you have studied classical art and archaeology in Italy, you’ve probably read his manuals), the museum is hosted inside the Palazzo Pretorio.
Inside are gathered and displayed exhibits that come exclusively from the territory of the Val d’Elsa. The exhibition traces the history of this area from Neolithic to medieval times.

Complesso di San Pietro

The Museum San Pietro, has its headquarters in the monastery complex of San Pietro. This museum was born from the fusion between the Museo Civico e Diocesano d’Arte sacra (civic and diocesan museum of sacred art) and three collections: Collezione del Conservatorio di San Pietro, Collezione Romano Bilenchi and Collezione di Walter Fusi. Here we find works from the Diocesan territory and Tuscan paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries, among these there are the works of Antonio Salvetti, Walter Fusi, Ottone Rosai, Moses Levy and Mino Maccari.

things to do in Colle di val d'Elsa: visit Museo diocesano Diocesan Museum
Diocesan Museum (credit

The Archaeological Museum “Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli” and the Complex of San Pietro constitute the museum system called Colle Alta Musei.
Opening hours:
March-October: every day 11.00-17.00
November-25 December: saturday-sunday 15.00-17.00
26 December-6 January: every day 11.00-17.00
9 January-February: closed

Tickets: regular 6 euro; reduced 4 euro; free for kids (less than 6 years), residents, local schools and people with disabilities.

Tickets are cumulative with the archaeological museum and have audio guide included.

Official website of Colle Alta Musei.
Website of the Fondazione Musei Senesi.

Porta Nuova

Continuing until the end of via Gracco del Secco, just beyond the Complesso di San Pietro, you reach the majestic Porta Nova. The city gate (15th century), created from a project by Giuliano da Sangallo, has outside two imposing round towers.

Colle di val d'Elsa Porta Nova
Porta Nova (Photo by LigaDue / CC BY)

What to see around Colle di Val d’Elsa

Colle is a perfect starting point for visiting the whole Val d’Elsa and its many points of interest. Among the most interesting places in the area we can not fail to mention San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Certaldo, Radicondoli and Poggibonsi.

How to get to Colle di Val d’Elsa

By car: Colle di Val d’Elsa is not far from the route of the raccordo autostradale Firenze-Siena. Coming from Florence (48 Km) take the exit for Colle Val d’Elsa Nord, from Siena (27 Km) the southern exit.

By bus: Line 131 company Tiemme that links Siena, Colle di Val d’Elsa and Florence.

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