How to reach
The 'Volterrana Gate' 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 the 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 north-south oriented curtain stand the gate with its with beautiful round arch.
The 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 its 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, and rare, example of application of these principles to a town gate.