Here, history is taken very seriously. Everyone remembers the battle between the Ghibelline troops of Siena and the Florentine Guelphs. More than seven centuries have passed since the night of Junbe 16, 1269 when Colle di Val d’Elsa was the site of the great battle. 1,400 knights and 8,000 infantrymen from Siena fought against the 800 knights and 300 infantrymen barricaded inside the walls of Colle.
It seemed like fate, but in reality it was the skill and courage of commander Jean Britaud de 'Nangis, nicknamed Giambertoldo of France, that made the difference. At the end of a bloody battle, Colle was saved. In June 2019, the day was remembered with a faithful reconstruction of the incident. The wait, the deeds, the heroic endeavors and the brutal confrontation.
Since 1331, production has been part of the culture of the city. First, it was glass production, then from the 1900s, they specialized in the production of precious crystal. The substantial difference between glass and crystal is determined by the presence of lead oxide which increases the density of the glass and therefore the refractive index increase considerably.
This brings the glass closer to the optical properties of a diamond. The light that hits it is refracted more precisely than with normal glass, thus giving that effect of great brilliance typical of lead glass. It’s only corrections in the composition of the glass made by specialized scientists as well as master glassmakers that make the lead glass clear, transparent, shiny and worthy of being called crystal.
A remarkable number of famous people were born or lived in Colle Val d’Elsa. Among the best known is the sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Cambio, born here in 1245. The project of S. Maria del Fiore (1296) in Florence is attributed to him. Bartolomeo Scala was born in 1430, defined by many as "the éminence grise of Lorenzo the Magnificent". For his prestige and merits he was declared Gonfalonier of the Florentine Republic. Another well-known figure is the cartographer and hydraulic engineer, Ferdinando Morozzo, who in 1766 wrote a treatise on the state of the Arno and a series of local history studies including one on the houses of the farmers of Colle Val d’Elsa. The painters Vittorio Meoni, Mino Maccari and the writer Romano Bilenchi were also born here.