Colle Val d'Elsa

Colle Val d’Elsa is perched in the lands of Siena, crossed by the ancient Via Francigena. This ancient medieval village was animated by pilgrims and travelers, who stopped to rest at the foot of its characteristic tower-houses. One of these towers stands out for being the home of the artist Arnolfo di Cambio, sculptor and architect.

Here, art and craftsmanship are two activities that have never subsided, Colle Val d’Elsa has been the crystal capital for centuries. To learn about its tricks and contemplate the art of blowing, you can choose to enter the Crystal Museum or take the opportunity to attend demonstrations held during some events in the historic center.

In the oldest part of Colle, called Colle Alta, there are the Civic and Sacred Art Museum, in the Palazzo dei Priori, the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Museum, dedicated to archeology, the Dome and the former Conservatory of San Pietro designed by Giorgio Vasari.

The panoramic point is the Baluardo, a fortification from which you can enjoy a view that sweeps across the valley and where there is an elevator that allows you to reach the lower part of the city.

Colle Bassa has a mainly modern aspect, but observing carefully also in this part of the inhabited center there are some interesting ancient testimonies such as the small medieval church of Santa Maria di Spugna, the church of Sant’Agostino and the arch of the Porta Guelfa, one of the few remains of the walls of the Piano.

The main square is Piazza Arnolfo, where the war memorial of the First World War is located, it has always represented the heart of the city from both a social and commercial point of view.

stables, fabulous vineyards and olive groves, and gold-colored wheat fields: these are just some of the elements that make up the fantastic and harmonious landscapes of the Valdorcia!

Crossed by the river Orcia, from which the valley takes its name, this splendid region in the south of Tuscany winds along the provinces of Siena and Grosseto. The entire area is now a protected park, and has been recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2004.

The beautiful landscapes of the Val d’Orcia, which inspired many Renaissance painters, are dotted with many small castles, abbeys, villages and villages, including Montalcino, San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza, each with its own incredible history.

Montalcino, a medieval city where you can visit the Diocesan Civic Museum of Sacred Art, which houses one of the richest collections of painting and wooden sculpture of the Sienese school. Particular then the Town Hall, whose slender structure is flanked by a high bell tower that stands almost like a lookout tower.

Once here, it is naturally worth exploring the beautiful surrounding countryside, towards Castelnuovo dell’Abate the splendid Abbey of Sant’Antimo stands alone, one of the highest examples of Romanesque-French in Italy.

Montalcino is also famous for its fine wine production, starting with the well-known Brunello. A perfect time to get in touch with the authenticity of local flavors is the last Sunday in October, on the occasion of the characteristic “Sagra del Tordo“. The Truffle Museum was born in the village, the first in Italy dedicated to the precious and fragrant tuber.

Montepulciano, a village full of imposing Renaissance palaces, artisan shops, churches with splendid facades and even more beautiful and interesting interiors.
The main square, Piazza Grande, is dominated by the beautiful tower and the gothic facade of the Palazzo Comunale. Opposite the town hall is the Dome, dating back to the end of the 16th century.
Below the walls you can admire the temple of the Madonna di San Biagio, considered a very high example of architecture, stands out in the distance in the green countryside thanks to the travertine with which the building was built.
Montepulciano is also internationally known for its Vino Nobile, one of the most popular Tuscan wines in the world, obtained from the pressing of grapes from the vineyards surrounding the village.

Pienza, the best known center of the Val d’Orcia and known as the city of Pope Pius II. Much of the significant historical and artistic heritage of Pienza is concentrated in the suggestive square dedicated to Pope Pius II, Piazza Pio II, where the Palio del cacio al melt takes place in the first week of September. All the buildings that overlook it were created by Bernardo Rossellino, such as the Cathedral of the Assumption.
On the left stands Palazzo Borgia, today the seat of the Diocesan Museum. In the square there is also the Palazzo Comunale, with its low and large tower with clock, which inside preserves a valuable fresco of the Sienese school of the fifteenth century with the Madonna and Child and the patrons of Pienza, while at the corner with Corso Rossellino there is Palazzo degli Ammannati. Pienza is famous for pecorino, one of the best Italian cheeses and at the same time with the longest history.

The whole area is rich in local products of great quality such as the fabulous pecorino di Pienza, intense olive oil, delicious wine, saffron, mushrooms, truffles, game, and many other specialties.

Also famous are the thermal baths in the area, such as the one in Bagno Vignoni or Bagni di San Filippo.

Small medieval villages

Far from all tourist routes and therefore little known, but which deserve to be discovered for their genuineness. In their daily life they contain all the Tuscan excellences such as: food, wine, crafts and breathtaking landscapes.

  • Morning: departure from Villa Godenano by minivan
  • Time available to visit and discover the historic center of each village
  • Light lunch in a typical Tuscan restaurant
  • After lunch, free time at your disposal to continue exploring the small villages
  • Afternoon: return to the hotel