For centuries, Colle Val d'Elsa has been the capital of crystal, to the extent that its nickname is the "Bohemia of Italy". Glasses, wine goblets and dishes are shaped from a mix of flair, skill and inherited craftsmanship, which is why the town produces almost all of Italy's high-end glassware. Go to the Crystal Museum (currently under reconstruction) if you want to get to know the tricks of the trade and learn about the art of glassblowing. You could be even more proactive and attend a demonstration in one of the artisan workshops, or at one of the events in the historic centre.
The oldest part of Colle, Colle Alta, is also the part where visitors will inhale the atmosphere that most savours of history. Walking through the medieval streets, you will come across precious collections like in the Civic Museum of Sacred Art, in the Palazzo dei Priori, or the Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli Museum, which focuses on archaeology. But you can also admire the cathedral and the former Conservatory of San Pietro, which was designed by Giorgio Vasari's nephew or grandson, called Giorgio Vasari the Younger. Anyone who wants to gaze a bit further need only go up to the Baluardo, a fortification that offers a view over the whole valley.
On a little hill opposite the castle stands the church and convent of San Francesco, which was built in the thirteenth century on the site where Francis' first followers would assemble for common prayer.