Tuscany’s Cities of Art: Volterra
The city of Volterra stands on a hill. Famous for the extraction and working of alabaster, it has a remarkable historic centre of Etruscan origin. Remaining from this era are the beautifully Porta all’Arco; Porta Diana, whose jamb blocks have been maintained; a large part of the Etruscan-built walls, constructed with cyclopean blocks of local stone; and the Acropolis, where there are the foundations of two temples as well as various buildings and cisterns, and numerous tombs used for the burial of the dead.
The Roman ruins (including the semicircular theatre) and medieval buildings like the cathedral, the Medici fortress, and the Palazzo dei Priori, built in 1246, stand on the square that is the nerve centre of town.
Traditions and Folklore
- The UT ARMENTUR BALISTARII shooting tournament takes place each year on the Sunday before 2 June, when archers with bench-crossbows compete for the title of Priore dei Balestrieri.
- The Giornata di Festa nell’Anno Domini 1398, a medieval re-enactment, takes place on the Sundays of 21 and 28 August when, from dawn to dusk, the city revives a day of medieval festivity.
- The Astiludio takes place on the first Sunday in September. It is a series of competitions among flag-throwing teams from three nearby cities plus that of Volterra.
- On the last Sunday in October, the city’s districts, in medieval costume, compete in the Palio dei Caci Volterrani.