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Colle di Val d'Elsa

For centuries, control over the town of Colle was fought over between the bishops of Volterra, Siena and Florence. It was a free Comune during the 13th century, before being conquered by the Florentines in the mid-13th century. Ever since the medieval times, several manufacturing industries flourished here, such as wool processing, paper-making, and glass manufacture, which still survives today in the creation of valuable objects made of lead-crystal. Today’s Colle Alta, which corresponds to the former nucleuses of Castello and Borgo, retains the atmosphere of the ancient medieval borgo, in a dominant position on a ridge. Ancient tower-houses and Renaissance palazzi flank the main street, while the town’s museums, one of which is devoted to lead-crystal, house treasures (large and small) dating from the Etruscans to the modern era.