Antico Borgo di Tignano
Strada Provinciale Volterra, Localita Tignano, Volterra, 56048, Italy
More about Volterra
The boar's head doesn't invite you to THIS place!
The pathway up to the shrine
The view from the loo!
Interior, S. Michele (not my pic)
Travel Tips for Volterra
Where did all the salt go?
First night in Italy, stumbling exhausted into a restaurant. My friend ordered up a meal and a carafe of wine, which mercifully arrived before anything else so that I could begin to ease my weariness and slide gradually towards rest. Immediately after the wine came, our waiter brought a basket of bread and a cruet of herb-infused oil. I've loved Italian bread (as it is served in the United States) for many years, and I gratefully took up a slice...and immediately decided that my exhaustion had somehow affected my taste buds, because the bread was HORRIBLE.
It took another couple of days and several abortive attempts with other purveyors' bread before I asked my friend what was wrong. Oh, she told me, the Tuscans objected to a tax the Romans placed on salt, so they decided to stop using salt in their bread.
And there you have it, friends. If you're sodium-addicted, as I apparently am, order foccacia, which even in Tuscany has sufficient salinity to appease that compulsion. Otherwise, cultivate the notion that saltless bread is just as good as saltless butter -- another commodity which I banish from my household on principle.
Winding back streets
There are a number of streets and alleys that eventually take you from the front to the back of the city up at the top of the hill. The width is only about 3-4 blocks, so you will not get lost easily.
What to do with left-over art: Pinacoteca Civico
One might surmise that the "civic museum" would contain a lot of material about the city itself. Perhaps the fifteenth century structure which houses the museum, the Palazzo Minucci-Solaini, constitutes a testament to the city; it was certainly worthy of both time and admiration. But the collection it houses is almost exclusively religious art, chiefly paintings and wood carvings as well as some frescoes and polychrome, most of which was rescued from various local churches which are no longer operational. How fortunate that someone thought to move all these wonderful pieces from their former homes, so that visitors can enjoy them today!
There are also medals (especially from the Medici era), ceramics, and coins. But it was the art which drew me. I didn't get to visit the Museum of Sacred Art but I can't imagine it had a better collection.
Opening hours: open every day (excl. 1/1 and 12/25)
Mar 16-Nov 1 9am-7pm
Nov 2-Mar1 8.30am-1.45pm
Palazzo dei Priori
This fantastic palace was built by the architect Riccardo between 1208 and 1254 under the reign of Bonaccorso Adimari. It is the ancient city hall of whole Tuscany, The wonderful facade was restored in the 15th century and in its lower part there are terracotta plates enameled with coats of arms of Florentine commissioners and others in marble and in stone. To the first floor you can see five ogival bifores realized in 1200, while to the superior floors you can seethere Romanesque bifores. The tower was restored in the 18ht century after the earthquake of 1846.
Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra
The Diocesan Museum of Sacred Art is located in the rectory close to the cathedral. There you can see the ancient cloister built in the 13th century. The museum was founded in 1936 to collect all the ancient objects own by the cathedral and by the other churches of Volterra.
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