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Shopping & Parking

  • Shopping & Parking

    As a traditional market town, Colle holds a Friday market on Piazza Arnolfo di Cambio in Colle Bassa, the lower town. The market sells foodstuffs, household goods, clothes and shoes. The same square welcomes a farmers’ market, il Mercatale della Valdelsa, every fourth Saturday of the month. In local wine and food shops buy Chianti Colli Senesi wine, along with typical pastries, biscuits and cakes (see Eating & Drinking for more). Colle di Val d’Elsa is also something of a centre for arts and crafts in general. Above all, Colle is known as largest producer of crystal and fine glass, and there are plenty of shops selling it. (For more on crystal manufacturing, see the `City of Crystal’ itinerary in Things to Do).

  • La Grotta del Cristallo

    This crystal shop sells everything from tableware to crystal chandeliers and hand-crafted jewellery. Champagne flutes, whiskey glasses, picture frames or perfume bottles - this is a treasure-trove for quality crystalware.

    Via del Murolungo 20
    53034
    Colle di Val d'Elsa
    T: (+39) 0577 931879 (workshop) & T: (+39) 0577 924676 (showroom)
    Web: www.lagrottacrystal.com

  • Ceramiche Manufactum

    Set in the historic centre, this ceramics workshop sells hand-painted gifts, from ceramic art to brightly-painted bowls and trays, all made by a husband-and-wife team of potters. They also run short, half-day courses.

    Address: Via del Castello 32
    53034
    Colle di Val d'Elsa
    T: (+39) 0577 922400
    Web: www.manufactum.it

  • Parking

    As often in Tuscany, Colle di Val d’Elsa is a town of two parts: Colle Alta, the old historical center (centro storico) crowns the hill, with Colle Bassa, the modern part of town, spread out in the valley below. If you arrive by car, there is ample parking just below the historical centre. Follow signs to Volterra and the winding road will take you up to the car park, just below the old part of town. Built into the medieval walls, the monumental Porta Nuova gateway marks the entrance to the old town. While you can walk up the hill, there is also a public lift that connects the lower and upper town and opens onto a lovely terrace. If arriving on foot from the lower town, you reach the lift by walking along Piazza Arnolfo and via dell’Aringo.

    Most Tuscan towns operate a strict ZTL system, a Limited Traffic Zone. This means that the Centro Storico (historic centre) is essentially closed to traffic, particularly for non-residents. Cars will need to be left outside the walls.

    Advice on ZTLs: You may see other cars crossing the ZTL boundary (Limited Traffic Zone) and assume you can proceed. Not so. The drivers crossing into the ZTL zone will probably be locals and have residents’ permits. Visitors do not so are liable to fines. Zones are monitored by cameras, so tickets are issued immediately and automatically, as soon as (and each time) the car crosses the ZTL boundary. For more, see www.comune.colle-di-val-d-elsa.it

  • Getting there & getting around

    By car: If arriving in Colle via the Superstrada, take the Colle di Val d’Elsa Sud exit and drive through the modern town towards the medieval upper town. As for exploring, Colle di Val d’Elsa is central and convenient for key Tuscan towns and attractions, at least by car. Volterra lies 28 km west of town while Castellina in Chianti lies 20 km east. Instead, Siena is 26 km south; Certaldo is 25 km north; and Florence lies 54 km north of Colle di Val d’Elsa.

    By train and bus: there’s no direct rail connection from Siena to Colle di Val d'Elsa so you need to take the train to Poggibonsi and then catch a bus to Colle, which is a saga. Instead, the local bus network is more convenient, especially if you want to leave the car in Colle on occasions. The bus network can take you to San Gimignano, Siena or even Florence. For more on the local bus network, see Autolinee Train website (www.trainspa.it)

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