Shutter Speed 1/320 sec
Focal Lenght 24 mm
Lens Nikon 12 – 24
Camera Nikon D300
THREE THOUSAND YEARS IN VOLTERRA
Volterra, known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri, to the Romans as Volaterrae, is a town and comune in the Tuscany region of Italy
Only a few towns in the world can offer, at first sight,as Volterra does, a clear image of the past and of past civilizations. Just as the deep, surreal layered cliffs (“balze”) bear evidence to various geological eras,testifying to the ancient origins of the landscape,in the same way the town architecture reveals the gradual development of the town in the space of three thousand years, during which its original physiognomy has changed considerably.
The best place to acquire information about the foundation and later urban development of Volterra is the Acropolis, where the scientific excavations which began 30 years ago have not yet been completed. Set in the green meadows of the wonderful archaeological park dedicated to the renowned Volterran scholarly Enrico Fiumi, the excavation site has uncovered an archaeological stratification of inestimable value, which alone makes up for the almost total silence of historical sources with regards to a town that was one of the main centres of the Etruscan dodecapolis. Here, during the Iron Age (8th century B.C.), the villages scattered all along the edge of the hill united to create a single town.Two big temples, of which numerous traces are still to be found today, were erected for the celebration of religious ceremonies.During its peak of power and wealth Volterra was defended by an efficacious ring of walls, which in the 1st century A.D. still made an impression on visitors, as the geographer Strabone observed. The same fortification system proved a serious problem for Silla’s expert and bloodthirsty army, which for two long years during the civil war besieged the town where Mario’s followers had retreated. The circuit, of which long sections can be admired at S. Chiara, Golfuccio, Guerruccia and Pescaia, was the most important fortification network in Etruria, with a perimeter of over 4 miles and enclosing an area of 116 hectares. An exquisite example is also to be found in the town centre itself, inside the Centro Studi S. Maria Maddalena.The wall has two ancient gates, the Porta all’Arco and the Portone, both important examples of Etruscan architecture.Outside the fortification are the Necropolises of the Main Gate, Badia, Ulimeto and Ripaie, which have been under excavation since the 18th century. The sites at Marmini, S. Giusto and Ulimeto offer some examples of tombs belonging to the Hellenistic period (end 4th-1st cent. B.C.). Their finds, among which are the famous cinerary urns made of tuff and alabaster, are part of the extraordinary Etruscan artistic collection in the Guarnacci Museum, one of the most ancient public museums in Europe.A grandiose testimony to the period of the Roman domination,when Volterra lost its autonomy and intellectual liveliness, is the Theatre of Vallebona. This theatre is an exceptional find, testifying to the generosity of the ancient Etruscan Ceicna-Caecina family, already settled in Rome, towards their native town and to their devotion to the Emperor Augustus and his policy of municipalism.