Volterra Travel Guide

  • Four doors of different styles on a steep street
    Four doors of different styles on a...
    by Bunsch
  • Volterra
    by micajo
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    Crossover Residences
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Volterra Highlights

  • Pro
    Bunsch profile photo

    Bunsch says…

     Small enough to explore completely in a few days 

  • Con
    iandsmith profile photo

    iandsmith says…

     Lack of road signs on how to get there 

  • In a nutshell
    BruceDunning profile photo

    BruceDunning says…

     It is an enjoyable city with shopping and eating is good 

Volterra Things to Do

  • The Remaining Buildings Around the...

    The small part of the northwest corner of the square not occupied by the Priori is filled by an edge of the cathedral. It is one of alternating white and black marble slabs. This is not seen elsewhere on the outside. The rest of the north side is occupied by a fine palazzo that is now the bank di Volterra. For may centuries it was known as the...

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  • Walk the Side Streets

    The side streets of Volterra are filled with old buildings but are quiet / They are not very long and many lead toward the main square of the Piazza Priori.

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  • Near the Bottom of the Hill

    Almost at the bottom of the hill there is large stone double lavatory which was erected during the 13C called the Fonte Docciolo. Immediately beyond it is the Porta Docciolo of similar age which leads into the parking area.

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  • Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo

    As we walked toward the edge of town where the long stairs began, we came to another old church of the 11 and 12C with typical Pisan facing of alternating strips of black and white marble on the west end.

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  • The Roman Theater

    At the edge of town is a carefully planned area that once was a 5,000 seat amphitheater. Ut disappeared beneath the ground but starting in 1950 to was excavated and it now used for various performances.

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  • The Greatest Etruscan Art Masterpiece

    The most famous piece in the collection is a 1C BC funerary monument top showing an older couple in peasant garb looking at each other with great love.

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Volterra Hotels

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Volterra Restaurants

  • Impressive Chocolate Designs & Ok Gelato

    The items from this store's window were so impressively well done I had to go inside. What I found in the store however was a business that was almost equally divided between selling gelato and selling chocolate. There were a little over 20 items of gelato to choose from. However the items of chocolate were far more elaborate. We chose to purchase...

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  • My Top 5 In Italy For Slow Food

    I have lived in Italy for almost 4 years, and I can honestly tell you that this is one of my top 5 restaurants in all Italy. Known for slow food, a Tuscan menu, that is moderately priced, and popular enough with the locals that I suggest reservations. If you are in Volterra, this is NOT TO BE MISSED. The appetizer plates, feature all types of wild...

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  • Osteria

    I love osterias, much more then classical restaurants. In the whole area of Mediterranean osteria is another word for for the fresh and good food. Besides, it is usually cheaper then restaurant food but not always. Certain osterias are widely known for excellent food and it usually cost.This one is simple osteria at the edge of the old city core of...

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  • Wish I got food

    After reading a possitive review tried this restaurant. After over 15 minutes of waving to get attention of 1 of the 3 waiters and hardly any tables occupied, we left for the neighbours. So try this place only if you have a lot of spare time! None to be had

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  • Looking backward

    Although it's lovely to be atop the hill looking down on the rolling hills and valleys of Tuscany, a good case can be made for finding a restaurant amidst those hills and valleys from which one can look backward to see the glories of Volterra against a setting sun or rising moon. We hadn't gone with that particular purpose in mind, but since it...

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  • Somebody makes the best pizza in town

    It is not strictly true to claim Il Giardinetto makes the best pizza in town (I didn't try it elsewhere); indeed, it is probably inaccurate to select "pizza" as its theme (there was a lot of other stuff on the menu). But our pizza there was absolutely splendid, a vast improvement over virtually all of the contenders from elite United States pizza...

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Volterra Nightlife

  • ruxi's Profile Photo

    by ruxi Written May 4, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There is basically no night life; there is only one pub (overlooking the Roman ruins) but quite empty;

    And L'Incontro close to Piazza dei priori , where all the locals get together on Friday and Saturday evening, before going to have dinner. L'incontro is nice but you have to get used to the idea of having sweets and cakes at the counter and children coming with their family to have an icecream.

    Otherwise, prices are not expensive at all and they have a nice cocktail list.

    Dress Code: Casual

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Volterra Transportation

  • Arriving By Car at Volterra

    The parking area at Voiterra is at the base of a tall hill (or small mountain). There are fine walkways that lead up to the town which in ancient days was more populated. The climb will take at least 15 minutes. From the bottom you can see parts of the ancient town walls. At least from here you have nice views of the country side.

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  • Don't be fooled by the posted distances!

    It's not uncommon for people who live in relatively flat places, or in places with multi-lane highways, to imagine that they know how long it will take to get from Point A to Point B. So hearing that Volterra is 60 km away from Florence might lead such folks to conclude that they might easily arrive a mere hour or so after departure. Setting aside...

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  • Find a Spot Close

    Parking can be limited during the tourist season. When we were there, even in October, not many spaces were available. Some park along the road, but be careful so no tickets are issued. The main entry is through Porto della Arco on the south side. Most parking is on the north side by the Teatro Romano, but then you have to figure out how to...

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Volterra Shopping

  • Great for small boys (and large ones,...

    The tournament which was going on while we visited Volterra derives from Medieval customs, and so it is not surprising to find that shops cater to both that segment and the Etruscan-worshippers. If I recall correctly (and I did take a break for about ten months in writing up these tips, while life got in the way), this schizophrenic shop managed to...

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  • Glass mosaic still enchants

    Although there IS jewelry at Vitrium, for the most part it is glass mosaic-based. The shop is full of beautiful glass mosaics used as borders for mirrors, as tops for tables, as lighting fixtures, and so forth. The stylish options are many if you have the space and sufficient funds.It is a fun shop to browse, and the creator is on-site so you can...

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  • I will make sure you never filch another...

    Many of Volterra's alabaster shops contain carved and colored replicas of fruit, and a few even have carved replicas of nuts. Oasi's, though, takes verisimilitude several steps farther, creating completely life-like versions of eggs, lollipops, chocolates, and fancy cookies. They certainly look good enough to eat, but what a shock you'd receive if...

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Volterra Local Customs

  • Grapes Of Tuscany

    I came to Italy thinking that Montalcino was the center of the wine world of Tuscany, but I have since found that there are other super wines made in Tuscany. Volterra was a real surprise, and more than a few bottles of local wine was brought back to the U.S. in my luggage.Along the road from San Gimignano you can stop and take photos of the grapes...

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  • Babies convention

    It was nice to see so many babies around, Volterra has the future guaranteed and it's undoubtelly. Although so ancient town with long tradition Volterra has pretty young population and very cute babies.

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  • Shoe repairing

    It was nice to see that some ancient skills still lives in the ancient Volterra. Once upon the time, not so long ago, shoemakers and shorepaierers had shops in every city district, all over the Europe.

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Volterra Tourist Traps

  • myriam_c's Profile Photo
    Teatro Romano & Acropoli

    by myriam_c Updated Oct 6, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The site itself is not a tourist trap, absolutely not! But you don't necessarily have to pay the entrance fee (OK, it was only 2 euro) to go on the site because it's not allowed to go on the site itself. You even get a better view from the city walls, and this is free of any charge!

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Volterra What to Pack

  • Some like it hot

    Although things tend to cool off at night, if you're an American and used to air conditioning, you may find that it is well worth your while to bring a small battery-powered fan with you, or to purchase a slightly larger fan which has the appropriate plug for Italian current. I brought two of the former and we never did get around to buying the...

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  • Laundry facilities are hard to find

    Given the paucity of laundromats -- I never found one -- it is probably wise to bring along a small bottle of laundry detergent (though shampoo will do in a pinch), clothes pins and laundry line. You can wash out your "smalls" each night in the sink, and periodically launder larger items when you have access to a bathtub.

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  • If you're used to wash cloths, bring...

    Our villa in Volterra included bath towels and hand towels, but not what we Americans call "wash cloths" (a small towel used to wash one's face). Luckily, my friend had brought a supply which could be left behind in each city, and I brought Olay's excellent cleansing tissues because that's what I use back in Rhode Island. But if you're younger...

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Volterra Off The Beaten Path

  • Visit the Balze Out of Town

    2 km northwest of town is an irregular tract of terrain called the Balze. Within the area there have been landslides and sink holes as the land continues to fall away. It seems to have begun in the 17C and even most of a rural monastery has been engulfed.

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  • Staccioli's Red Ring

    Driving the scenic hills from Siena to Volterra you suddenly come upon a huge red ring to the side of the road. Sitting there with nothing else around I had to stop and get a better look.It turns out this ring, which appears as weathered red oxide, was designed by Mario Staccioli an Italian sculptor. Staccioli taught art at the collegiate level in...

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  • Carcere

    Castello de Medici had prison already in the medieval times, it is where opponents to the de Medici family and their political power were confined. It was known as a very solid prison and almost impossible to escape from it. Since it served well as a prison in the medieval times it was good reference for being it even in the modern times of Italy....

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Volterra Favorites

  • Where park for free in Volterra

    Hi,I live in Volterra and in Viale Vittorio Veneto there're few space for park the car (about 4/5 sides). The rest is all no parking area. At the end of the street there's a big car park with road of stone but is propriety of the chatolic seminary's build wich is in front of it. The unic big free car park in Volterra is in the area called "Fonti di...

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  • Coming back to Volterra

    There are places we hardly can wait to leave, soonest possible, some other we do remember for a very long time knowing in our hearts that we will come back again. I do remember Volterra as a small and beautiful medieval town but most of all I do remember it for the tranquillity I felt there. I will come back to Volterra because of "salumi di...

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  • Streets of Volterra

    The main city street, Via Matteotti, is a very busy place and the same goes for several back-side streets if large enough to keep shops or cafe-bars. Volterra is, however, typical medieval structure and most of the side streets are narrow and pretty deserted. I almost got impression that many houses in some of narrow side streets arent inhabitated...

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Explore Deeper into Volterra
Visit the Museo Etrusco
Things to Do
There Are Other Works of Art in the Church
Things to Do
See the Interior of the Cathedral
Things to Do
Study the Palazzo Pretorio's Multiple Sections
Things to Do
Study the Palazzo Pretorio's Multiple Sections
Things to Do
Look At the Baptistery
Things to Do
In the Center of Town
Things to Do
The Outside of the Cathedral Is Quite Plain
Things to Do
Check Out the Walls of the City
Things to Do
Roman Theater and Bath Ruins
Things to Do
Palazzo dei Priori
Things to Do
Porta all Arco
Things to Do
Chiesa di San Giusto
Things to Do
Visit the Cooptativa Artieri Albagtro
Things to Do
PHOTO MOMENT
Things to Do
WALK THE TOWN
Things to Do
Le balze
Off The Beaten Path
Contrade di Volterra
Local Customs
Niccolo Maffei
Local Customs
Chiesa di San Francesco
Things to Do
Il Battistero
Things to Do
Palazzo Minucci Solaini - Pinacoteca
Things to Do
Buonparenti Quadrivium
Things to Do
Casa Torre Toscano
Things to Do
Volterra
Favorites
Porta di Docciola
Things to Do
Porta del Arco
Things to Do
Porta Fiorentina
Things to Do
Porta San Felice
Things to Do
Porta San Francesco
Things to Do
Fonte di Docciola
Things to Do
Castello Medici
Things to Do
Chiesa di San Michele
Things to Do
Chiesa di San Giusto
Things to Do
The Cathedral
Things to Do
Try some of the local specialties
Restaurants
A delicious welcome to Italy
Restaurants
Imagine becoming a convert: Baptistery
Things to Do
A splendid meal with unexpected entertainment
Restaurants
Tiny roadside Madonnas
Off The Beaten Path
Map of Volterra

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