Volterra is a tiny little Medieval town in the middle of the hilly landscape of Tuscany. It took me an one hour ride to arrive from outside Pisa to this beautiful place. To find a parking place – again at the station (old one) – was very easy as well.
We entered the walls and were immediately surrounded by deep history.
Once a Neolithic settlement Volterra became a very important Etruscan center with the name of Velathri. The city is inhabited for nearly 3.000 years. Later it became a municipium in the Roman Age and a bishop’s residence in the 5th century.
The walk in the inner city – there is no outer city – is very nice. Streets are cobbled, houses look like in one of this movies from the Middle Age and the shops and restaurants are so small and inviting to stop by.
At a major piazza, the Piazza dei Priori, we stopped to have a look in the Palazzo dei Priori. We saw a nice black&white façade, typically seen in Florence and Pisa as well. I loved the windows on the other side of the piazza.
We stopped to eat something in a surprisingly vegetarian/vegan restaurant named Dionisio. Looking up I saw the washing hanging in the street and was starting to think back to Naples where this is a common use. It looked strange in a clean and Medieval city. I think they did that in all ages…
The dog sitting and waiting for his owner was a German dog named Pete. He was so nice and watched inside the restaurant where his owner still had to pay for the meal.
After lunch we just walked in the streets without entering nowhere. Not even churches which are a few in Volterra. There is the cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta and the baptistery of San Giovanni. The cathedral has a great ceiling not to miss (like I did)!
Very interesting are the Roman excavations in a huge park with areas for children as well. From here the view to the fortress of Volterra is a ‘must take a picture’. BTW the fortress is now a prison and is hosting a restaurant open to the public since 2007. The tables are booked out weeks before!
Funny to see all the old people (that’s what it seemed to me) of the more than 11.000 inhabitants of Volterra sitting in a piazza high over the hills of Tuscany and chatting all together.
We walked back the streets and had an additional look into the shops. In one we stopped to observe an artist during his work with alabaster. There are excavations in the hills for alabaster and nearly every shop offers also things in alabaster. They look beautiful, so clean and white, so delicate. I bought a small plate, looks great!
We walked back to the car, nearly four hours later, without proceeding to another place. It was already 5 pm and for Siena or another city too late.
I learnt definitely that I never have to go sightseeing unprepared. Tomorrow I get a Lonely Planet of Tuscany and bring it always with me. But I loved Volterra and it will not be the last time I have been there.
Pisa to Volterra, Tuscany, Italy: