Enjoyable decent sized city for strolling
If you stayed here, not much to do buyt shop-eat.
The view coming into the city tells is all-pretty-original
The city has a lead glass museum and a museum of religious and civic art. The crystal glass museum is fabulous and worth a slow trip to imagine all the intricate work going into the making of this glass. The art in the religious museum is okay, and is in the Palazzo Pretorio right in the main Piazzo Duomo. They are all side by side; the duomo, the palace, and the clock tower. Colle Bassa is the main shopping area. It is not large, and that is the ambiance of it all.
The pure joy of this city is that the streets, or vias are not occupied by tourists, and all seem quite, clean and peaceful. WE walked a number of these streets, and one leads into another from an arched vaulted path that goes under a house of a resident. Some of the houses litterly hang out over the hillside.
The city is relatively new by Italian standards, only from the 10th century. It started to flourish in the 12th century from mills that ran along the River Else nearby. Eventually around the 13th century the town evolved into a lead glass making empire. It now makes 15% of the world's crystal glass. It is all delightful to see and buy. Some of the most famous artists in this industry reside here, and proudly present their items, and will talk to you about the trade and the making of each. There is a lead crystal museum in an underground area behind the Duomo in the main piazza.
There is an upper and lower part to the town. It it rather quite due to most people live here and apparently go somewhere else to work in daytime. A lot of old nonnas in the doorways, and not bothered by tourists walking around.
Gracco del Secco 113, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Italy
Good for: Business
Via Pieve in Piano 23, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Italy
Good for: Families
Loc. Mensanello, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Italy
Good for: Solo
The Villa Belvedere, located in Colle Val d'Elsa, is a Tuscany delight. Built by a Count in the 18th...more
Via F. Campana 8, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Ital
Good for: Couples
Via S. Sebastiano 29, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 06123, Italy
Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Italy
Good for: Couples
Localito Mensanello 34, Colle di Val d'Elsa, SI, 5
Good for: Solo
Via Liguria 1, Colle di Val d'Elsa, 53034, Italy
Good for: Business
Looking for something a little special in a gourmet dining experience while in Tuscany. A few miles off the main highway between Firenze and Siena sits an old Tuscan hill village called Colle Val d'Elsa. This is one of the quiet towns just off the main tourist route and I was not expecting a surprise in culinary excellence but more of a pasta and pizza style of restaurants.
Well, my wife and I were staying down in the valley area and it is called Colle di Val d'Elsa and just off the main road between Siena and Volterra in a former Italian Count's Villa called Villa Belvedere that has a Italian Tuscan restaurant on the property called Ristorante Villa Belvedere. I had my first Steak Fiorentine with white beans while dining here. The olive oil splashed over the steak enhanced the flavor of the meat to perfection. After the meal, I thanked the chef for a wonderful meal. He suggested that I might be interested in the upper hill portion "Old Town" that has a two star Michelin rated restaurant called "Arnolfo Ristorante" with a patio view near the small piazza.
The next night after a drive to Volterra seemed like a good time to try out the %LArnolfo Ristorante. Surprise, surprise, what a surprise. If you want one of the best gourmet meals in Tuscany, then make sure the upper hill old town of Colle Val d'Elsa is on your GPS or marked on a map to lead you to one of the greatest fine's in gourmet dining. It is a little difficult to fine and you may have to walk a bit. Taxi anyone?
Arnolfo Ristorante is under the watchful and inventive eyes of Gaetano and Giovanni Trovato not only in the creative dishes to dine for, but the selection of fine wines to pair with your meal. All in all, if you think this is a little too much in Euros for you, try to think of it as an experience you will remember and talk about to all your friends. I am telling you right now.
Favorite Dish: There are many creative dishes served at Arnolfo's and they do have seasonal menus. So, the same courses may not be offered year round. The prices are on the high side and if you look at their menu, the dishes all sound like gourmet heaven. One thing I love is opening courses, amuse plates, hors d'oeuvres or appetizers. Sometimes I forgo the main courses and enjoy the different tastes or bits of morsels that appeal to my taste. At Arnolfo's color and design plays a major part of overall plating. The beauty of a dish seems to bring out the anticipation of a wonderful sensory experience. Don't forget, if you enjoy a local wine then the Chianti Classico is a surefire way to remember Tuscany with a smile on your face. Arnolfo's has it all.
The only parking is a rather small area at the bottom before Porto Nuovo. It is easy to access in that coming off the main road, you drop right to it. After parking, there is a slight walk up some stairs to get to the main port entrance. Parking is free of charges.