Colle di Val d'Elsa is located on the left bank of the Elsa river ; The town originally developed in three distinct sites, each with different buildings and layout: Il Borgo of Santa Caterina, Il Castello di Piticciano, and Il Piano.
Whilst the area of Colle has major archeological finds, dating to as far back as the 4th millennium BC, the first documents mentioning Colle di Val d'Elsa date to the 10th century. However, it was with the end of the 12th century that the town gradually acquired political autonomy and a political identity of its own: the first documented municipal statutes date to 1307.
Even in the medieval period the urban zone covered a large area which, as well as the upper part of town, comprised Il Piano which extended along the route of the original gore (water channels).
The gore are the artificial water channels supplied by water from the river Elsa, and were built over the centuries starting in the early 13th century, with the presence of numerous buildings which relied on water as a resource, such as water-mills, paper-mills, and fulling-mills.
In this sense, the gore were a crucial factor in the town's economy, fostering the development of industrial enterprises.
Among the most important monuments to see in Colle di Val d'Elsa we point out here the Duomo (Cathedral), the Abbazia di San Salvatore (Saint Salvatore Abbey), the Chiesa di Sant'Agostino (Saint Augustine Church), the Chiesa di Santa Maria a Spugna (Saint Mary Church in Spugna), the Castello (Castle), the Palazzo Pretorio (Praetorian Palace), the Palazzo Campana (Campana Palace), the Casa-Torre di Arnolfo Cambio (Arnolfo Cambio's House-Tower) and the Baluardo (Bastion).