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Contemporary architecture and urban regeneration in Valdelsa Valdicecina

Exceptional itineraries discovering a territory where internationally renowned architects have created fascinating buildings and sites with a modern charm.

Between the Valdelsa and Valdicecina, there are numerous sites that, on the one hand, evidence the industrial vocation of these places, and on the other, the activities aimed at redeveloping urban centers with works by well-known architects and designers. The unique itineraries that explore these places are unmissable experiences to discover a surprising territory, the major center of which is Colle Val d’Elsa.

Piazza Arnolfo, Colle Val d'Elsa
Piazza Arnolfo, Colle Val d'Elsa

Walking in the lower part of Colle Val d’Elsa, you will come across one of its main sites, Piazza Arnolfo. Named after the famous architect and urban planner Arnolfo di Cambio, it's an ideal starting point for city trekking itineraries. Here, you walk upon a real work of art: the piazza, like all the surrounding area, was the subject of a regeneration project that saw the participation of international names in architecture, such as Daniel Buren and Jean Nouvel.

The latter is also responsible for the ski lift that connects Colle Bassa to the "Baluardo", the unmissable panoramic terrace that leads to the oldest part of the village. Right in the tunnel leading to the elevator that was once a bomb shelter in World War II, you'll find a valuable work of contemporary art, Kiki Smith's Red Girl.

A short distance from Piazza Arnolfo, you come across a building with unusual architecture: it's the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena by Giovanni Michelucci, one of the most famous Italian architects of the twentieth century.

Medieval in the upper part and modern in the lower part, Colle Val d'Elsa also has a strong industrial soul that has developed over the centuries due to the gore, the canals that allowed water to be brought to the prime activities. The old paper mills that once worked at full speed can still be observed with a beautiful archaeological-industrial itinerary. Don't miss the shops where fire is used to shape the material in a charming, artisanal process that makes the crystal of Colle Val d'Elsa, renowned on a national and international level. The greatly important product is exported all over the world. The museum of the same name and some contemporary art works are dedicated to the crystal, such as the shutters by Alessandra Tesi that overlook Piazza Arnolfo.

Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Giovanni Michelucci
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Giovanni Michelucci

Notable buildings linked to contemporary architecture or urban regeneration projects are also found in Valdicecina, a place where geothermal energy creates fasctinating landscapes surrounded by sulphurous vapours. Here, you can visit the industrial village of Larderello in Pomarance, or the Cappella dei Lagoni in Sasso Pisano, both by Michelucci. You can also choose to admire the cascade of salt designed by Pier Luigi Nervi for the warehouse located in Saline di Volterra, where the purest salt in Italy is produced.


To find out more:

Local Tourist website

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