August 23, 2007

Volterra-Back to the Past

The best time to visit a Tuscan hill town is during one of their Medieval festivals.
My own village Certaldo holds Mercantia in July , Monteriggioni has theirs in the beginning of July, but my favorite is
Volterra A.D 1398, held in August yearly.

This year August 19th and the 26th were the dates for the festival in all it's glory.

Volterra is in the Val d'Elsa which had been originally covered by water in prehistoric times, as the oyster shells and other fossils found in the ground testify.

Alabaster shops abound in Volterra as well as one of the best Etruscan Museums .
Large enough to spend several days exploring the nooks and crannies of this wonderful hilltown.

Here is a taste of the festival.
Hope you can come next year!

Volterra is located on the very top of a hill, overlooking a valley marked with farms

rolling hills, marked by the BALZE, cliffs, give a strange feel to the landscape.

Inside the town, the huge main square gives way to shows

young Sbandiertori, flag boys

tables set up for the Contradaioli to rest and share a meal in the smaller backstreets

examples of every day life, a grain mill run by donkey power

Fabbro, iron worker

Cestaio, basket weaver

Fruttivendolo, fruit sellers

Tigelle, a griddle bread eaten by the salt miner's

Parades during the festival with incredible costumes

Crepe maker

Donzelle, fried bread with fresh marinated anchovy filling

My favorite costume

Medieval Dancers

The Wild Band!


  1. Judy - it looks wonderful! Volterra was one of our favourite stops last year. As you mentioned, the Etruscan museum there is amazing.

  2. Wonderful post. I like the photo with the table and benches tucked away. I just found your site and love it :)

  3. I love your post, it transports me and I get the feel and flavor from your words and pictures! Thanks for a mini-vacation!