Abbadia San Salvatore

Abbey of Sant'Antimo

Albarese

Acquapendente


anghiari

Archipelago Toscano


Arcidosso


Arezzo


Asciano


Badia di Coltibuono


Bagni San Filippo

Bagno Vignoni

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Beaches

Bolsena Lake


Bomarzo

Brunello di Montalcino

Buenconvento

Campagnatico


Capalbio


Castel del Piano


Castelfiorentino

Castell'Azarra

Castellina in Chianti


Castelmuzio


Castelnuovo Bererdenga


Castiglioncello Bandini


Castiglione della Pescaia


Castiglione d'Orcia


Castiglion Fiorentino


Celleno


Certaldo


Chinaciano Terme


Chianti


Chiusi


Cinigiano


Città di Castello

CivitÀ di Bagnoregio


Colle Val d'Elsa


Cortona


Crete Senesi


Diaccia Botrona

Isola d'Elba

Firenze


Follonica


Gaiole in Chianti


Gavorrano

Gerfalco


Greve in Chianti


Grosseto


Lago Trasimeno


La Foce


Manciano


Maremma


Massa Marittima


Montagnola Senese


Montalcino


Monte Amiata


Monte Argentario

montecalvello

Montefalco


Montemassi


Montemerano


Monte Oliveto Maggiore


Montepulciano


Monteriggioni


Monticchiello


Monticiano


Orbetello


Orvieto


Paganico


Parco Naturale della Maremma


Perugia


Piancastagnaio


Pienza


Pisa


Pitigliano

Prato

Radda in Chianti


Roccalbegna


Roccastrada


San Bruzio


San Casciano dei Bagni


San Galgano


San Gimignano


San Giovanni d'Asso


San Quirico d'Orcia


Sansepolcro


Santa Fiora


Sant'Antimo


Sarteano


Saturnia


Scansano


Scarlino


Seggiano


Siena


Sinalunga


Sorano


Sovana


Sovicille

Talamone

Tarquinia


Tavernelle Val di Pesa


Torrita di Siena


Trequanda


Tuscania


Umbria


Val d'Elsa


Val di Merse


Val d'Orcia


Valle d'Ombrone


Vetulonia


Viterbo

Volterra




 
Walking in Tuscany
             
 
album Surroundings
       
   

The Val d’Elsa



   
   

The Val d’Elsa lies between the provinces of Florence and Siena. Divided by the river Elsa, this area of Tuscany is one of the region’s most beautiful sections of countryside. As well as boasting a vast historical and artistic heritage made up of chapels, churches, ancient monuments and magnificent 15th and 16th century villas such as Collazzi and Tattoli, the Val d’Elsa also abounds in excellent restaurants and fine regional cuisine.
There are many lovely hill villages in Tuscany but San Gimignano attracts most of the tourist traffic. In order to spread this largesse around a collective of six villages has been formed. They include San Gimignano and all are in the area of Val d'Elsa. The others are Poggibonsi, Colle Val d’Elsa, Monteriggioni, Radicondoli, and Casole d’Elsa.
San Gimignano has been called ‘a medieval Manhattan’ and people flock to this tiny village to see the famous ‘skyscrapers’. Building started in 1150 and continued until 72 of them soared into the air. Today only 15 of the original towers remain and they are enormously impressive.
Half way between San Gimignano and Pienza, on a hill that overlooks the Via Cassia-Francigena, is Monteriggioni, a magnificent fortified town that has retained its circle of walls almost completely intact. Colle di Val d'Elsa was originally developed as three independent areas: Borgo di Santa Caterina, Castello di Piticciano and Il Piano. Colle di Val d'Elsa has a small but attractive old town with two important provincial museums, the Museum of Civic and Religious Art and the Archaeological Museum, as well as quite a good Museum of Lead-Crystal Glass. In its history, Colle di Val d'Elsa was the setting for frequent military events. Among the most famous of these we would note the battle of 1269 between the Guelfs and Ghibellines, which had significant repercussions for the political geography of Tuscany. In the 17 C, the Usimbardi family introduced glass production into Colle di Val d'Elsa. 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. Today Colle di Val d'Elsa produces 15% of the world's crystal.

 

   
   
       
     
       
  The origins of La Suvera go back to the High Middle Ages as the Castle of the Country of Siena ruled by the legendary Countess Ava Matilde dè Franzesi, a relation of the King of France Clovis. It is therefore likely that the ancient name La Suvera derives from the French 'Souveraine', meaning Sovereign.
La Suvera passed, in episodes of alternate good fortune and ill luck, to Pope Julius II. He entrusted La Suvera to the genius of Baldassarre Peruzzi, who blended the severity of the medieval fortress with the sumptuous luxury of the Renaissance to create the villa as we know it today.
Relais La Suvera has 13 suites and 19 rooms all furnished with antiques and historical pieces belonging to the families of the owners, a rare collection made available to guests just as it would in a private home. Each suite has its inventory which guests may consult should they feel inclined to satisfy their curiosità and know more of the furnishings and furniture surrounding them.

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La Suvera, the formal Italian garden
Colle di Val d'Elsa Colle di Val d'Elsa is spread over three levels descending gently downhill. The urban layout is divided into three "terzieri"; the modern area the Piano, the Borgo and the Castello which is the old town.

Piano
This is where the old paper mills are that gave Colle fame throughout ltaly: the Cartiera del Paragone (now a residence), the Camera dell/a Buca (XIV' century), well known because it became the Paper Museum, and the Cartiera di Mezzo, one of the largest in town, now a hotel. Religious buildings worth noting are the Church of Sant'\Agostino near Piazza Arnolfo in the town center, where one can admire parts of the old medieval facade and several works of an, the Sanctuary of the Madonna del Renaio (XVI' century) and the Church of Santa Maria Assunta (X' century). Across the river is the Abbey of San Salvatore (now a hotel), where Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere" lived"""'b"E:fore becoming Pope Julius II.
Borgo
Borgo is accessed through Porto Nova or Salis, an imposing example of fifteenth.century military architecture. Medieval views go hand in hand with artistic palazzo's: Tommasi, Usimbardi, Orlandini, Galganetti and Alessi. There are other interesting buildings on Via Campana.
Nearby is the

 

Colle di Vald'Elsa, Duomo
  Abbazia di Conéo is a Romanesque structure that was founded by the Vallombrosan monks at the start of the 12 C and is one of the most interesting examples of religious architecture near Colle Val d'Elsa. Its plan is in the shape of the Latin cross, as is typical of Vallombrosan churches, and the intersection of the nave and the transept is surmounted by a sectioned dome, which is octagonal inside. The internal capitals and the cornice which runs round the outside of the building are decorated with starred flowers and other geometrical devices, of great artistic beauty. The building possesses a number of pre-Romanesque features, with numerous external brackets in the shape of imaginary animals
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The Romanesque Pieve of SS. Ippolito and Cassiano existed as far back as the 10 C and was later part of the bishopric of Volterra, while towards the end of the 12 C it came into the sphere of political influence of the municipality of Colle Val d'Elsa. The building as we see it today, , is the product of various renovations in the mediaeval period and work on it during the Romanesque period seems to have lasted for over 50 years: from the end of the 12 C until the middle of the 13 C.
The Parish Church of Santi Ippolito e Cassiano in Coneo is reached by a small road set beyond Campiglia dei Foci, on the road that goes from Colle Val d`Esla towards Volterra.

 

 

Pieve of SS. Ippolito and Cassiano

Barberino Val d'Elsa

 

   
 

The Pieve of Barberino

A winding hilly road, once the ancient Via Cassia and now State road n° 2, leads up to the town of Barberino Val d'Elsa, situated high up above the valley from which it takes its name and halfway between Florence and Siena, on the north-western borders of the Chianti area. Barberino Val d'Elsa is located in a dominating position on the ridge separating the watersheds of the Elsa and the Pesa rivers. The town has retained its mediaeval elliptical shape with a main street running between the two turreted tower gates, the Porta Romana and the Porta Fiorentina.

Barberino Val d'Elsa is mentioned in a document of 1054 belonging to the Abbey of Passignano as a fortress or village situated in the Parish of San Pietro in Bossolo.

The Chapel of San Michele Arcangelo is particularly interesting. Built in 1597 by Santi di Tito, it is a perfect 1:8 scale reproduction of the Cupola or Dome of the Cathedral of Florence.

The archaeological site of Semifonte is located within Berberino's territory.

 

   
  The Antiquarium of Sant’Appiano is a small archaeological museum located in rooms adjoining the Pieve di Sant’Appiano just a few km from Barberino Val d’Elsa.

La Pieve di Sant’Appiano (The parish church of Sant'Appiano)

The church itself, built in early Romanesque times with a nave and two aisles with apses

 
VICO D'ELSA      
       
SEMIFONTE      
       
PONETA - PASTINE - POPPIANO      
       
MARCIALLA      
       
PETROGNANO      
       
LINARI      
       
SAN FILIPPO - PONZANO      
       
SAN MARTINO AI COLLI      
  San Martino ai Colli is a group of very old houses built on either side of the Via Cassia road; many are farmhouses but some were originally built to offer various services to wayfarers, as well as pilgrims of course, on their way to Rome. The cemetery chapel now remains as the local place of worship.
Chapel of San Martino ai Colli
Situated inside the cemetery of San Martino, the chapel has taken on historical importance since the discovery of two Etruscan tombs dating from the 8th-7th centuries B.C. beneath its foundations.
Necropolis of San Martino ai Colli
The excavations of 1960 brought to light a necropolis with chamber tombs and funerary furnishings dating from the end of the 6th century. The large amount and variety of material brought to light leads us to believe that a small necropolis once stood here and that, over the centuries, tombs from various periods had ended up one on top of the other and in communication.