An old railway in the heart of Valdelsa

Thursday, March 22, 2012



Colle Val d'Elsa, 1885: The opening of the railway station
Once upon a time there was a railway... This is the beginning of a modern fairytale with a happy ending, set among the rolling hills of Valdelsa, a land offering many attractions for those have a holiday in Tuscany Villas.
There once was a railway line that connected Poggibonsi to Colle Val d'Elsa, just north of the Sienese territory. The people of the 19th Century were surprised to see a train line intersecting the valley and a train hissing and whistling, upsetting the peaceful atmosphere that had been present here for centuries.
The railway, only 7km long, opened in 1885 after nearly twenty years of planning and construction. It provided links for trade to the town of Colle Val d'Elsa as the town was previously isolated from the main railway network in Tuscany even though it was one of the most prosperous industrial centres in the region.
However, this little railway became the victim of economic and structural problems. The management company incurred financial difficulties, which were exasperated by the flooding of the River Elsa in 1928 which swept away a bridge on the line. The company was forced to admit bankruptcy in 1934 and management was passed over to “Ferrovie dello Stato” (The State Railways.) However, things didn’t improve and gradually fewer people used the railway between Poggibonsi and Colle Val d’Elsa. Many businesses moved to new industrial areas far from the station and this contributed to the decay of the line.
The final closure of the railway line was on November 2nd, 1987. Since then, everything has been abandoned and the surrounding vines and vegetation have been left to devour it.
But, we promised you a fairytale with a happy ending, so let’s continue...
Since 2009 the towns of Poggibonsi and Colle Val d'Elsa, home to some of the most beautiful Tuscany Villas, have started a reclamation project. It was completed in November 2011 with the opening of a bicycle path, which retraces the route of the old track.
This charming location, immersed in greenery, is a must-see for those staying in the Tuscany Villas with a love for cycling and nature walks.

1 comment:

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