|Satellite coordinates||Population||Altitude||Official Website|
|Lat. 43.4025 – Long. 10.8600||11.000 ca||550 mt||Volterra Municipalities|
Volterra Tourist Office
The city still retains traces of its majestic past which gradually unfurls as you wander through the narrow streets and explore the Etruscan Museum, the Art Gallery and Museum of Sacred Art. And yet Volterra’s charm not only lies in its historical patrimony but in the undefiled surrounding countryside, a slow traditional way of life and its age-old tradition of alabaster carving.
This elusive stronghold requires careful and patient attention for it takes time to absorb its timeless atmosphere, treasured secrets, unique ambience and culture. One of the most unspoilt areas in the region, close to other important art centres and the coast, this is an ideal choice for a holiday in Tuscany.
Volterra is not yet touched by the stress of contemporary life and visitors who come to Volterra have the immediate impression of stepping into the past, of being in a particular place with its narrow Medieval streets and the enigma of its Etruscan origins. Volterra is prevalently Medieval and yet cherishes abundant evidence of the Etruscan period: the Porta all’Arco (the Etruscan gate) which date from the 4th century B. C., the Acropolis, the defensive walls which are still visible in parts of the town.
The Roman period is attested by the important remains of the Teatro di Vallebona which date back to the Augustan period, the Baths and an enormous rectangular water cistern. The Middle Ages are not only visible in its urban structure but too in its buildings, its house-towers and churches: the Palazzo dei Priori, a 13th century building, the Palazzo Pretorio, with its crenellated Tower of the Little Pig, the pair of towers of Buomparenti and Bonaguidi family, the house-towers of Toscano family, the Cathedral (12th century), the Baptistry (13th century) streaked with Volterran stone, the conventual Church of San Francesco with its adjacent chapel of the Croce di Giorno, the Church of San Michele and of San Alessandro. The Renaissance period has influenced Volterra in a particular way, however without changing the Medieval atmosphere.
Some good examples are the Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, beautifully inserted among the Medieval housetowers, the Palazzo Incontri Viti with its theatre Persio Flacco added in the courtyard in the 19th century, the Palazzo Inghirami, the Palazzo Ruggieri, the Convent of San Girolamo with the terracotta statues of Della Robbia and the Medicean Fortress which looms over the Medieval town. Apart from its monuments, its art and history, Volterra also offers a magnificent panorama of the gentle undulating hills of the surrounding landscape abruptly interrupted in the West by the Balze (crags).
The slow progression of these repeated landslides finally precipitated the destruction of the most ancient Etruscan necropolis, the earliest Christian churches and the ruin of the 11th century Badia Camaldolese. Today Volterra has 3 museums of considerable artistic and historical value. The Museo Guarnacci is one of the most important museums in Italy for its rich Etruscan-Roman patrimony.
The Pinacoteca and the Museo Civico, preserve valuable paintings of the Sienese and Florentine schools, among which “The descent from the Cross” by Rosso Fiorentino. Finally the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo is noteworthy for the variety and quantity of ecclesiastical vestments, the collection of gold reliquary, the illuminated manuscripts and the 14th century sculptures of the Sienese school.