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Colle di Val d'Elsa

Colle di Val d'Elsa or Colle Val d'Elsa is a town and comune in Tuscany, Italy, in the province of Siena.It has a population of c. 20,000 (2005). Its name means "Hill of Elsa Valley", where "Elsa" is the name of the river which crosses it.Today, Colle di Val d'Elsa is internationally renowned for the production of crystal glassware and art (15% of world production), largely produced in the industrial lower town.HistoryThe area was settled by man from at least the 4th millennium BC, but first mentions of the city are from the 9th century AD. In 1269 it was the seat of a famous battle during the wars of Guelphs and Ghibellines and in 1479 it was besieged by Neapolitan troops. From the 14th century it was a possession of Florence and the Grand Duchy of Tuscany until the unification of Italy in 1860.In the 20th century it became an important industrial center. During World War II it was bombed by Allied aircraft.The oldest part of the town is the "colle alta", the higher part, with a well preserved medieval center. The town developed along the river from the 11th century onwards, building an artificial canal to power various industrial activities, such as wheat mills and paper factories.The city is also famous as the birthplace of sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Cambio. A poet Isabella Cervoni was also born here.
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