Colle di Val d'Elsa

Renaissance in the Val d’Elsa

Discovering the territory surrounding Siena

Located North-west of Siena, Val D’Elsa is a wonderful valley that visitors can reach thanks to the Cassia Sino a Poggibonsi road, which leads to Colle Val d’Elsa, a small, splendid town, known for its Medieval and Renaissance architecture.

In Casole d’Elsa, you’ll find an exceptional museum which hosts a ‘Madonna and Child with Saints’ commissioned to Andrea di Niccolò by the Agostani family in 1498. In this venue, visitors will also appreciate a ‘Visitation’ by Girolamo del Pacchia (c. 1520) and a detached fresco by Pacchiarotto, which was once located in the Palazzo Pretorio. Finally, you’ll reach the town of Radicondoli, in the heart of the valley, where you’ll find hints of the Renaissance at the Convent of Santa Caterina, where Pietro Orioli painted an ‘Assumption’ during the last part of the fifteenth century. Today, said work is exhibited in the Collegiata dei Santi Simone e Giuda. Near Radicondoli, be sure to visit the thermal baths of Galleraie, built in 1862 by Count Bulgarini d’Elci. The structure was initially endowed with four giant baths containing iron-filled water at 29°C, a horse rest-stop, carriage garage and even a small church. The baths were fed by five different water sources which are currently cited in the Larousse Medical Dictionary. In 1891, the city of Siena hosted an important Hydrological Conference and the waters of Galleraie received honorable mention.

Visitors to the area also won’t want to miss San Gimignano’s Santa Fina chapel where they can see Ghirlandaio’s magnificent cycle. Thanks to a short trip to Staggia, you’ll be able to an altar piece painted by Antonio del Pollaiolo or catch a glimpse of the isolated abbey, Abbadia a Isola. We suggest that the second day of your itinerary include a visit to the Val di Merse, the wildest natural area in the territory surrounding Siena. In Rosaia, you can see Renaissance masterpieces at the Church of San Giovanni Battista. In Monticiano and Bagni di Petrolo, its nearby thermal baths, visitors can continue their journey. Throughout history, these baths were known for their curative sulfur-rich waters; they were used by many illustrious figures including members of the Medici and Gonzaga dynasties. From Petriolo, why not take a trip to Murlo to see the parochial church of San Fortunato a Vescovado? Therein, you’ll find a religious triptych by Benvenuto di Giovanni dated 1475. In the same church, you’ll have the chance to appreciate a surviving panel by Andrea di Niccolo, once part of a poly-triptych work created for the country church of Carli.