Colle di Val d'Elsa
|Colle di Val d'Elsa|
|Comune di Colle di Val d'Elsa|
|Province / Metropolitan city||Siena (SI)|
|• Mayor||Paolo Canocchi|
|• Total||92 km2 (36 sq mi)|
|Elevation||141 m (463 ft)|
|Population (31 December 2010)|
|• Density||230/km2 (600/sq mi)|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|• Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Patron saint||St. Martialis and St. Albert of Chiatina|
|Saint day||July 1|
It has a population of c. 21,000 As of December 2010[update]. 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), largely produced in the industrial lower town.
The area was settled by man from at least the 4th millennium BC, but first mentions of the city are from the 9th century AD. In 1269 it was the seat of a famous battle during the wars of Guelphs and Ghibellines and in 1479 it was besieged by Neapolitan troops. From the 14th century it was a possession of Florence and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the unification of Italy in 1860.
In the 20th century it became an important industrial center. During World War II it was bombed by Allied aircraft.
The oldest part of the town is the "colle alta", the higher part, with a well-preserved medieval center. The town developed along the river from the 11th century onwards, building an artificial canal to power various industrial activities, such as wheat mills and paper factories.
The village is entered through the ancient and monumental Porta Nova and winds its long and narrow way in a sequence of fine 16th- and 17th-century noble houses (notable are Palazzo Usimbardi, Palazzo Buoninsegni and the Town Hall) to the Palazzo Campana, which marks the entry to the Castle, the oldest part of Colle. Here, the village is characterized by narrow paved lanes, 15th- and 16th-century noble houses (such as Palazzo Luci, Palazzo Morozzi, Palazzo Giusti, Palazzo Dini) and tower-houses, including the one where Arnolfo di Cambio was born.
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Media related to Colle di Val d'Elsa at Wikimedia Commons