Colle Val d'Elsa
The ' VolterranaGate' closes the fortifications
of Colle Alto, precisely of the 'terziere' called 'Castello'. Colle Val
d' Elsa can be reached following the motorway Firenze-Siena until the
exit bearing the same name.
The fortifications of Colle Val
d' Elsa are considered a mile-stone in the development of the Medicean
fortified architecture, second in importance only to the fortress of Volterra. The ' Volterrana Gate' ( also called ' Porta
Nuova' - New Gate) is a small fortress itself.
It was erected
in 1479 with the contribution of the greatest military architects of
time (the Francione and its student Giuliano da Sangallo, Francisco d'
Angelo and Paolo di Francisco) on the western front of the town-walls.
A short wall line is enclosed between two powerful circular towers, similar
to those that can be founds in the fortresses. At the center of this
oriented curtain stand the gate with its with beautiful round arch.
complex, built for great part in bricks, at first can be mistaken
with the barbican or the main entrance of a 'Rocca', its walls are strongly
scarped, endowed with a double 'redondone' (drip-stone) to delimit
vertical feature, machicolation over triangular brackets in stone, crenellated
parapet and gun-holes (framed by the redondone): we
can find here all these elements many years before the development of
the 'new' bastioned fortifications. Colle di Val d'Elsa was the first,
rare, example of application
of these principles to a town gate.