"Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli" Archaeological Museum (opening soon)

This museum, dedicated to the memory of Siena-born scholar Ranuccio Bianchi Bandinelli, is housed in the Palazzo Pretorio (or Palazzo del Podestà) which, together with the Palazzo del Popolo and the Palazzo dei Priori, symbolises the political and judicial power of the Commune of Colle in the Middle Ages. The building, originally a tower house belonging to the Guidotti family, became the seat of the city's Podestà in the very early years of the 14th century. Its façade is pierced by a series of windows and embellished with pietra serena or terracotta coats-of-arms representing the various Podestà who governed the city from here. A staircase and an elegant portal admit the visitor to the palazzo and its frescoed interior. The archaeological collection consists exclusively of finds from the Valdelsa area ranging from the Chalcolithic age to the Middle Ages. Some of the most spectacular exhibits, from the tomb of the Etruscan Calisna Śepu family, include black Volterra vases, splendid bronze mirrors and a vast quantity of tableware typical of the kind of thing the Etruscan nobility would have used at their banquets. The museum also has a reconstruction of the Etruscan ceramic kiln excavated in the artisan neighbourhood of Quartaia.

The visit ends with the Stanze della Memoria "Gracco del Secco", an evocative tour of the palazzo's prison cells which were in use from the Middle Ages until 1924.