FASCINATING ETRUSCAN VOLTERRA

9 February 2016
The tour...
Ideas...

The tour...

  • Etruscan Volterra: the gate, the city walls and, above all, the marvellous Guarnacci museum, one of the most important in Italy: the fascinating discovery of a mysterious civilisation from Asia Minor, exterminated in Roman times, all of whose secrets have not yet been revealed. A great civilisation that Italians are proud to have as their origins. Substantial parts of their daily lives and customs, philosophy and religion have been recreated through the evidence of their funeral rites, found in the necropolises.
  • Roman Volterra: the theatre and the spa, almost intact. The Guarnacci Museum houses mosaics and stones slabs.
  • Medieval Volterra: the whole town still has a medieval appearance, but the most beautiful places are Piazza dei Priori and the government building which influenced the architect of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence; the cathedral with its elegant 13th-century pulpit and octagonal baptistery; the Buonparenti tower-houses, the narrow streets and all the buildings in the old centre of the town, and the Chapel covered with frescoes telling the story of the Holy Cross.
  • Volterra and alabaster: this soft stone, first mined by the Etruscans, is nowadays the basis of local production in Volterra: there are great many workshops in the town where you can watch craftsmen at work and a nice museum to visit in order to understand the origin of this natural stone and the techniques for extracting it and working it. The 600 funeral urns you can see in the Etruscan museum in Volterra are finely sculpted in alabaster. Palazzo Viti is a very old, large house that belonged to a family that worked alabaster. Today it’s a wonderful museum where artistic pieces created and owned by the Viti family are exhibited.

Ideas...

  • It’s wonderful to spend a whole day exploring Volterra, but the tour can also be made in half a day.
  • To get to Volterra, you take the train to Pontedera (on the Pisa-Florence railway line) and then catch a local bus to Volterra (it takes 80 minutes). However, buses are not very frequent.
  • If you prefer to be comfortably driven by a private chauffeur, ask me for a free quotation.

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