Volterra, a haven of Etruscan, Roman, Medieval and Rennaissance art, dominates the Cecina Valley, 550 metres above sea level, affording a spectacular view as far as the sea. There are planty of things to do in Volterra, places of interest, museums and palazzi to visit. Check out our list of things to do in Volterra.
Palazzo dei Priori. The building work of the Priori palace designed by Richard of Como began in 1208 and was completed in the middle of the 13th century. It is the oldest town hall in Italy. Worth the visit Sala del Consiglio and Sala della Giunta.
Pinacoteca in Palazzo Minucci-Solaini. The Art gallery was founded in 1905 and consists mostly of works by Tuscan artists from 14th to 17th centuries.
Museo dell‘Arte Sacra. The Museum of Sacred Art is housed in the ancient canon’s house. The museum has a noteworthy collection of paintings, sculptures and sacred vestments from the cathedral and other churches.
Palazzo di Bicocchi. The Bicocchi Palace has been recently opened to the public as a museum and offers a glimpse of 19th century bourgeois life and of a wealthy, religious and devoted family.
Palazzo Cangini Westinghouse. The palace is a private residence still inhabited by direct descendants of the original Cangini family. Among the rooms of the Palazzo that may be visited are the ornate period bedroom known as Alcova used by members of the Austrian Imperial family.
Palazzo Incontri-Viti. The twelve rooms that are open to the public are beautifully fitted with furniture, porcelains, alabaster collections and other valuable items representing Italian, European and Oriental art of the 15th to the 20th centuries. The palace was visited by kings and princes, and film directors such as Luchino Visconti who came here to shoot their films.
Museo Etrusco Guarnacci. The Guarnacci Etruscan Museum holds the most important collection of Etruscan cinerary urns in Italy. Main attractions are the bronze statuette “Shadow of the Night” and the sculpted effigy of an Etruscan couple in terra cotta.
Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro. The Alabaster Ecomuseum is an environmental museum that tells the story of an ancient craft specific to Volterra from the excavation of the stone to its production and commercialisation.
Fortezza Medicea. The Fortress was built in 1474, exactly two years after Florence conquered the city of Volterra following a fierce battle over the control of nearby alum mines, an important mineral used in the production of textiles. Medicean Fortress now houses a prison.
Amfiteatro Romano. Excavations carried out in the 50’s by Enrico Fiumi just beyond the Porta Fiorentina uncovered one of the finest and most well-preserved Roman theatres in Italy.
Acropoli Etrusca. The archeological area of Etruscan acropolis includes remains of various buildings and other structures linked to them, such as houses and warehouses.
Necropoli Etrusca. Outside the fortification are the Necropolises of the Main Gate, Badia, Ulimeto and Ripaie, which have been under excavation since the 18th century. The sites at Marmini, S. Giusto and Ulimeto offer some examples of tombs belonging to the Hellenistic.
Balze e Badia Camaldolese. One of the most famous areas of Volterra, the Balze are an interesting natural phenomenon of soil erosion. The monastery (Badia Camaldolese), abandoned in the last century due to the ever approaching Balze, has been partly restored.
Miniera. The Mine museum, housed in the 14th century Palazzo Pretorio in Montecatini Val di Cecina, documents the vast range of resources, sites and activities located in the Upper Cecina Valley.
Museo della Geotermia di Larderello. The visit to the Geothermal Energy Museum of Larderello includes, beside the museum rooms, the plastic-model room (with slides that show the origin of geothermal energy, the research, the drilling activity and the electrical plants), the covered lagone and the thermal spring.
Museo della civiltà contadina. The village of Montecastelli, in order to preserve a collection of tools used in agriculture and in the home between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s, has recently created a Museum of Rural Life.
Centrale Geotermica di San Martino. The visitors of San Martino Geothermal power station can observe the historical evolution of the geothermal energy productive process.
More information about the museums and other attractions in Volterra on www.volterratur.it