Almost exactly half-way between Siena and Florence, Casole d ‘Elsa is an enchanting rural village worth a visit. Located 417mt above sea level, Casole is one of my favorite spots in Tuscany with its architecture, great views and artistic atmosphere; coming from the parking by lift or walking up the hill , where the old town is, you can breathe history at every corner and can’t ignore the great care taken by the local municipality and Casole people (I casolani) in the renovation and maintenance of this gem village. A great example of harmonious development where old and modern perfectly merge into each other.
Originally an Etruscan settlement and then a domain of the bishop of Volterra, Casole was contented between Siena and Florence, passed in the first half of the 13th century under the control of Siena and was inevitably involved into the battle between Guelph and Ghibellines .
Summer life in Casole
In Summer, the village becomes the center of numerous artistic activities, such as classic concerts, opera nights, outdoor dinners and even private events that find in the “Piazza” or indoor courtyards, the perfect locations for celebrating special occasions.
Not to be missed, on Thursday evenings, “Jazz Divino” , organized by “Caffè Casolani”. Once a week in one of the beautiful squares around the village you can listen to some of the most important national and international musicians of the jazz scene. Most concerts are free.
As summer life in Italy is mainly concentrated outdoor, you are going to hear all languages spoken in the square and narrow streets, as visitors come here from all over the world .
Walk along the streets decorated with flowers, picturesque old and modern shop plates , the old elegant Pharmacy, the beautiful Rocca Senese , now the seat of the “ Comune” ( municipality) , the modern statues that take you by surprise at every corner; if you happen to stop by at lunch time, you’ll find a handful of good restaurants with authentic Tuscan cuisine to choose from and, if you decide to stay , have a look at the art galleries along the main street .
Casole for Etruscan history lovers
A visit to the Collegiate Church ( built in the twelfth century in Romanesque-Gothic style) and the local museum is highly recommended. The Archeological and the Collegiate Museum is in the Canonica, adjacent to the church ; here you can see some archaeological remains found in the area and an interesting collection of religious art with paintings of the 14th and 15th century. Ask for Linda Gabriele, in charge of the museum visits. She is not originally from the area , but now she knows every corner of it and loves the region. She will certainly help you organize a tour and discover the area.
In Casole , and all around the town, we are on the doorstep of a land rich in history.
Both inside the village walls and through the surrounding cypress-lined path, one is trading on old land and legendary paths. Here archeological remaining dating back to Etruscan times have been found together with important traces of Etruscan everyday life , thanks to research done throughout the years by the local Archeological Society and today magnificently stored and presented at the Museum , under the direction of Patrizia La Porta. Starting in Spring, the Museum often offers guided tours in Italian at the nearby “Necropoli etrusca e Parco Archeologico di Dometaia”.
My suggestion is to start from the Etruscan section of the museum , arrange a guided tour of the area where large part of the Etruscan remains were originally found. The Museum Etruscan collection is in fact part of the result of a donation by owners of the Querceto estate (today a five stars resort) and takes its name from the noble sienese family Bargagli . Noteworthy, among the remains of the Bargagli collection, the ‘Head of a marble Statue’ of the VI century B.C.
Need another reason to come to Casole for a day? I could suggest a relaxing day at a local spa ( I heard about one with treatments inspired to Etruscans just to stay on the topic), or the beautiful walks in the nature as well as along the fascinating Via Francigena . Something for everybody!
Shall we wait for you?