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Famous for its gently rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves: Casole d’Elsa is at an altitude of 417m. Itsarea was originally inhabited by the Etruscans. The first written evidence of the town dates back to 896 when Adaberto, a Tuscan marquis, conceded the town to the Bishop of Volterra.

The diocese of Volterra ruled over the town for a long time, as confirmed in an 1186 document in which the emperor Enrico VI renewed the concession to the Bishop.At the start of the thirteenth century, Casole gained its independence and became a free town able to elect its own town council. For many years the territory was fought over by Sienese, Florentine and Volterran forces.

In 1259 the town was occupied by the Florentine army but following the battle at Montaperti andthe Castelfiorentinotreaty of 1260, it was definitively brought under Sienese rule. The town’s defensive walls were built by the Sienese during this period. The fortress and the defensive walls are still visible today, although the town gates have unfortunately been destroyed. The southern gate was destroyed by German mines during the Second World War.

Visitors can enjoy the church of Santo Spirito and Palazzo Pretorio (the ancient seat of the town council) which is decorated with the terracotta family crests of the town’s various mayors over the centuries. Also of interest are the Palazzo Casolani-Berlingheri-Scheggi, the Collegiata of Santa Maria Assunta and the church of San Pietro and San Niccolò. The Collegiata is home to an important fourteenth century funerary monument belonging to Bishop Tommaso d’Andrea. This sculpture is the first example of its kind of a similar sculpture resting on a ‘shelf’ and belongs to afourteenth century Tuscan school of sculpture.


CURIOSITY: the name derives from latin “Casula” meaning little house; in 1862 was added “Elsa” after the river.


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