Last month, on a beautiful fall Saturday, a friend and I went to Volterra. I’ve always wanted to go there and finally got to! It was wonderful!
I didn’t get to visit some of the sights in Volterra, including the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum, which is one of the oldest and most important Etruscan museums in Italy. Established in 1731, it holds works of exceptional importance in the history of ancient Volterra. The collection begins with the Villanovan section (the oldest phase of Etruscan civilization) with tombs in which bronze objects of the 9th C BC have been found: arms, tools and jewels. The extremely large collection of Etruscan urns makes this museum unique in the world: more than 600 examples of funerary caskets dating to between the 4th and 1st century BC, decorated with mythological scenes as well as with scenes of daily life. The museum also houses wonderful archeological finds such as the “ombra della Sera”, the shadow of the evening, 3rd C BC, showing a young man. You can also admire the lid of the “Urna degli Sposi” 1st c bc, the Stele of the warrior Avile Tite (4th century BC) or the “Kyathos di Monteriggioni (7th c bc).
Palazzo Viti, which I didn’t see but wanted to, is also notable. It is one of the finest private residential buildings in Italy. 12 rooms are open to the public, beautifully fitted with furniture, porcelains, alabaster collections and other valuable items representing Italian, European and Oriental art of the 15-20th centuries. The palace is still arranged as it was when kings and princes visited; and it was used by directors such as Luchino Visconti to shoot film. The palace is still inhabited by descendants of the Viti family.
The Etruscans sites in Volterra. Several excavations have brought the light of day to the remains of a district planned to hold the main temples of this formerly Etruscan city. the Acropolis began to take form in and around the 7th C BC with the construction of its first temple. The remains visible today are those of 2 large temples and other buildings around them, dating back to the Hellenistic era.
You can also visit a large Roman underground reservoir that once supplied the city with nearly all its water.
Teatro Romano: In the Vallebuona are remains of the most important Roman building in Volterra: the theater. Built at the end of the 1st C BC, it could hold more than 2000 people; it was abandoned at the beginning of the 3rd C AD. Its remains were used to build a thermal complex in the center of the porch, which stood behind the stage. Many of its original parts were decorated with marble and statues.