What to see in Volterra, Italy, in one day
Volterra is a charming hilltop town located in the heart of Tuscany, known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. The town attracts millions of visitors annually with its medieval walls and stunning architecture.
If you’re on a tight schedule and have only one day to spend in Volterra, don’t worry! We’ve compiled a guide to show you the best spots to visit in the town to make the most of your time.
Visit the Piazza dei Priori
The Piazza dei Priori is the heart of Volterra’s historical center, the perfect starting point for your day. It is the oldest and the most important one in town, home to some of Volterra’s most historic buildings. We can find, in fact, the Palazzo dei Priori, which served as the seat of the city government in the Middle Ages. Other notable structures include the Palazzo Pretorio, which was the governor’s residence, and the Torre del Porcellino, an impressive tower that was used as a prison.
Walking through the Piazza dei Priori, you can’t help but be transported back in time to a world of knights and merchants bustling about their daily affairs. No wonder this stunning architectural masterpiece draws visitors from around the globe.
Walk along Volterra’s medieval walls
Volterra is famous for its medieval walls built during the 4th and 5th centuries. Walking along the walls will allow you to admire the town’s sprawling vineyards and gorgeous hilltop views. You can also visit the Fortezza Medicea, built in the 16th century by the Medici family, to protect the town.
Explore the Archeological site
The city is also home to some of the most impressive historical sites in the country. Among them, the most famous is undoubtedly the Etruscan Museum, which houses an incredible collection of artwork and artifacts from the Etruscan civilization.
The town’s Roman Theater is another must-see attraction and testament to Volterra’s rich cultural heritage. Built in the 1st century BC, the theatre is one of the best-preserved ancient monuments in Tuscany. Walk around this historical site, and you’ll see the terraces where the audience sat more than 2,000 years ago.
Visit the Cathedral S.Maria Assunta
The Cathedral S.Maria Assunta – also known as the Duomo – is one of Volterra’s most iconic landmarks. Its twin bell towers are visible from almost anywhere in the town. The cathedral was built in the 12th century and features a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
The interior of the cathedral is a breathtaking sight to behold. As you walk through the grand entrance, you are immediately greeted by soaring ceilings and an ornate altar illuminated by soft, golden light. The intricate frescoes adorning the walls and ceilings tell the story of biblical events and angels seem to dance across the ceiling in a heavenly display. The richly decorated organ and pulpit add to the grandeur of the space, making you feel as though you have stepped into a world of opulence and beauty. It’s easy to get lost in the details of the interior, each one more stunning than the last.
Discover Volterra’s artisan traditions
Volterra is known for its artisan traditions, especially the production of alabaster, a type of mineral that is easy to carve, translucent, and durable. There are several workshops and stores around the town where you can observe the creation of alabaster objects and buy souvenirs to take back home.
One of the best ways to explore Volterra’s historical heritage is to visit the various museums scattered throughout the town. For instance, you can take a trip to the Pinacoteca and Civic Art Gallery, which showcases some of the finest artwork from the medieval and Renaissance periods. Alternatively, you can also visit the Museo Diocesano, where you can see religious artifacts from the Cathedral and, to a small extent, from other churches in the diocese.
If you’re looking for a unique and spine-tingling experience, make sure also to check out the torture museum. This museum takes visitors on a chilling journey through some of the most gruesome and inhumane methods of torture used throughout history. With its eerie atmosphere and informative exhibits, the torture museum will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the value of human rights and dignity.
Volterra is an incredible town with something to offer travelers with different tastes and interests. In just one day, you can see the town’s most famous landmarks, explore its rich history, and immerse yourself in its artisan traditions. With our guide, we hope you’ve found inspiration for your next visit to Volterra.
Make sure to take your time as you discover other wonderful gems in Tuscany. This region is full of charming little villages steeped in history and tradition.