Volterra in a day: what to visit in the town of Etruscan origin
What to see in Volterra in a day, attractions and places to visit in this ancient Tuscan town in the province of Pisa from ancient history.
Volterra stands atop the highest hill in the area, at 541 meters above sea level, in a prime location surrounded by an area that has favored human settlements since the Neolithic period. The Etruscan civilization reached Velathri, Etruscan name of Volterra, in the seventh century BC and made a large and thriving center for trade in metals, the production of grain, timber and alabaster.
Volterra became one of the twelve lucomonie that constituted the Etruscan nation. In this civilization also built in the fifth, fourth century BC the first walls of the city, more than seven kilometers long, of which today remain important architectural elements. Many relics of this era can be seen in the Etruscan Museum.
Towards the middle of the third century BC Volterra recognized the supremacy of Rome and became part of the Italian confederation. In the fifth century, when the first barbarian invasions, Volterra was Episcopalian. The bishop was the head of a diocese which followed the boundaries of the Roman municipium and lucomonia Etruscan, one of the most important ecclesiastical districts of Tuscia Annonaria.
In IX-X century began the temporal power of the bishops who became hereditary family Pannocchieschi, until the thirteenth century when it was supplanted by the municipal power. The construction of the Palazzo dei Priori, a symbol of that power, dates from this period, while the cathedral was built before, several times between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the noble families of Volterra, often at war with each other, they built numerous tower houses, real private fortresses. From this period the walls still exist, such as the southern part of the fortress, the tower of the Duke of Athens, known as the Female. This was also the time of the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines.
The municipal power fought hard battles against gentlemen interior and against the cities of San Gimignano, Pisa, Siena and Florence, and it was the latter who ended up sharing their submissive. The last revolt against Volterra Florence of Lorenzo the Magnificent will cost the city lost all autonomy.
The Florentines to better control the city did expand the fortress, was built the New Fortress (1472-1475), known as the Keep, used mostly as a prison. Ended the rule of the Medici, Volterra followed the fate of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
Places to visit in Volterra
The old town of Volterra is rich in monuments and art, testimonies of various civilizations that have occurred. Famous is the alabaster, characteristic of Volterra since antiquity.
Around Volterra one can observe the spectacular landscape of the crags, an erosion operation for some centuries that produced very high chasm that in the past has swallowed the Etruscan necropolis of the city and several medieval buildings. Volterra also from its hill, dominates a territory exceptional, offering picturesque routes, of great scenic and historic.