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Colle di Val d'Elsa

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(Collis Hetruscus)

Diocese (Collensis), suffragan to Florence. Colle is situated in the province of Siena, Tuscany, on the top of the lofty hill which overlooks the River Elsa. It is said to have been built by the inhabitants of Gracchiano, who had suffered greatly in the frequent wars between Florence and Siena. The Gospel is supposed to have been preached there by St. Martial, a reputed disciple of St. Peter. Colle had at first a collegiate church, exempt from the ordinary jurisdiction of the neighbouring bishop, and widely known through the merits of its archpriest, St. Albert, who flourished about 1202. In 1598, Clement VIII, at the request of Grand Duke Ferdinand of Tuscany erected the Diocese of Colle, the first bishop being Usimbardo Usimbardi. The Diocese has 72 parishes, 117 churches and chapels, 115 secular and 20 regular priests, 3 religious houses of men and 3 of women.

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