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Val d'Elsa

Abbadia Isola is a small 10th century village which was a stopping-off point along the Via Francigena. It developed further in 1001 with the founding of the Abbazia di S. Salvatore, and it took the name of Isola because the surrounding area was marshland.

The town of Colle Val d'Elsa lies on the left-hand bank of the river Elsa, and today is one of the most important crystal-producing centres in Italy, an activity which started way back in the 14th century.

San Gimignano lies at 324 m above sea level on a hill overlooking the Val d'Elsa. Surrounded by immaculately cultivated countryside, it has been inhabited since Etruscan times, and is named after a bishop saint from Modena who died in the 4th century.

Picture by Sandro Santioli

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