Colle di Val d'Elsa was the last stronghold to surrender in Toscany. It has always been the most industrialized of the nearer districts, thanks to the energy produced by the channels of the Elsa River, which were used also by the Romans. Today the most important activity is crystal production and for this reason Colle di Val d'Elsa is called the "City of the Crystal". Many crystal shops are located in this town together with the museum dedicated to this fine manufacture . The ancient castle overlooks this quiet and prosperous village.
The great Poet Dante said about Monteriggioni: "like on the round circle/Monteriggioni makes a crown with its towers". Passing from poetry to present days and driving on the motorway Siena/Florence, the first thing that catch the attention is the circle of walls that encloses an old muffled world. It is not so strange finding people dressed in medieval costumes, especially in May for the characteristic medieval festival. Do not miss the testing of the typical products of the area and the excellent hospitality of these people!
The architect who designed Pienza during the Reinassance period wanted the "perfect village". It is a real jewel. Pope Pio II gave the name at this village and located his palace in its centre, near the Cathedral.
Walking alongside Santa Caterina alley and stopping at the castle, the sight is caught by the Val d'Orcia valley with its villages and the imposing Amiata Mountain. A village-song says "Laid on a sweet hill, the cypress-trees make you a crown, armigers of an extremely beautiful queen...".
Entering the village from the Gracciano gate and walking on the streets you can find yourself surrounded by palaces, churches or by simple corners full of arts. If you fill thirsty by this walk you can stop and drink, not a simple beverage but a glass of the famous Nobile di Montepulciano wine.
Arriving in Piazza Grande you can find the Palazzo Pubblico (the town hall) and the Cathedral, and if you still have energy you can go up the tower and enjoy a magnificent landscape.
The village is placed on a hill among valleys. In the past it was scenery of several important historical events. Its splendour was reached in the Middle Age. Fortress, walls and towers present in the village were built for defence during that period. Today they maintain a particular charm of old times. Don't forget the typical products such as olive oil and the Brunello wine: saying Brunello for an expert is like saying Ferrari for a car racing fanatic.
Earth of ignited rivalry and competitions. From year to year the cities and the villages live again with ignited passion jousts inherit from the Middle Ages. Race unbridled for the old alleys. Crowded public squares. Heroic knights who fight jousts unbridled. The Palio of Siena is an authentic festivity of people. It is a beautiful competition that it's celebrated every 2 July and 16 August on the ring of "tufo" of the Piazza del Campo.
Florence has been for many years the crib of the culture and the art, and the greatest artists of the renaissance and all are been born the history of the humanity. The artistic patrimony is infinite: the museums (Uffizi, Pitti, Bargello, Archaeological, Museum of Modern Art, Museum dell'Opera, the Duomo); the libraries, the academies, and the garden (Cascine, Boboli). The religious monuments like the Dome (Santa Maria del Fiore), the cupola of the Brunelleschi and the bell tower of Giotto, guards one pietà of Michelangelo; the baptistery with the bronze doors of Ghiberti and Andrea Pisano; Santa Maria Novella; Santa Croce, in which the tombs are found of Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Galileo, Alfieri, Foscolo, Rossini; San Lorenzo with the sacristies of the Brunelleschi (old) and the Michelangelo (new). The architecture is expressed from huge works, which the Palazzo Vecchio, the loggia dell'Orcagna, l'Ospedale degli Innocenti (Brunelleschi) the Palazzi dei Medici, Pitti (painting gallery) and the Ponte Vecchio, characteristic for its double row of shops, from the 1500 exclusive rights of the goldsmiths.