Volterra: medieval town

Built on a hilly ridge between the valleys of the Era and Cecina rivers, enclosed by a double curtain of walls (the Etruscan and the medieval), Volterra, in the province of Pisa is one of the most important centers of Tuscany, both for the presence of monuments that attest to the civilizations that have succeeded one another over thirty centuries, and for the working of Tuscan alabaster, the artifacts of which today constitute one of the most typical and traditional products of Italian craftsmanship.

Volterra is a town not yet contaminated by the dizzying pace of contemporary life, and those who come here immediately have the impression of being in front of a peculiar city, where one has the feeling of living in the ancient, among the narrow alleys of a medieval village, among crafts rooted in an Etruscan past. With its predominantly medieval appearance, it preserves abundant relics from the Etruscan period, such as the Porta all’Arco, the Acropolis, and the city walls still visible in some parts of the city.

The Roman presence, on the other hand, is documented by the important remains of the Roman Theater, dating from the Augustan period, thermal buildings, and a large water cistern.

The medieval aspect of the city is not only evident in the urban layout, but emerges above all in the palaces, tower-houses and churches: the 13th-century Palazzo dei Priori, the Palazzo Pretorio, with its crenellated tower known as the Porcellino, the two groups of towers known as the Buonparenti and Bonaguidi, the 12th-century Cathedral, which preserves in its interior works from the medieval and Renaissance periods, and the Baptistery, an ancient 13th-century building with rows of Volterra stone.

In addition to the monuments and numerous testimonies of art and history, Volterra offers a view of the gentle hill passage that surrounds it, abruptly interrupted to the west by the wild and impressive spectacle of the Balze.