Another Great Day Trip From Florence, in fact and easy 45 min drive!
Encircled by impressive walls and topped with a grand fortress, Volterra sits high over rich farmland. It is, in deed, what a hill town should look like! An Etruscan city, that was once very large, now offers neither a cutesy nor touristy experience. This town is a refreshing break from its more commercial Tuscany neighbors. This is one of my favorites for the reasons above and the town is ringed with easy parking lots!
The famous Porta all’Arco, is an Etruscan Gate built of massive, volcanic tufa stones tine the fourth century a.c. The original wall was 4 miles around, which is twice the size you see today. A plaque just outside remembers the date of June 30, 1944 when the Nazi forces were planning to blow up the arch to slow the allied advance. Volterrans ripped up the stones that pave Via Porta all’Arco and plugged the gate, managing to convince the Nazi commander that there was no need to blow up the arch. Today, all the stones are back in place, welcoming you through the oldest standing Etruscan gate into Volterra!
There are museums and palazzo’s to keep you busy and people watching. The alabaster workshop is a fun peak into this almost lost art. The wine tasting at La Vena di Vino, just across from the Etruscan Museum, is a fun Enoteca where Bruno & Lucio devote themselves to the wonders of wine and share their fun loving passion!
Not to be missed is the regional Zuppa alla Volterra, a fresh vegetable and bread soup! Cecina, is a savory cake-like dish made with garbanzo beans. A famous cocoa sace called dolce forte is popular with home cooks who use it in meat dishes (like a Tuscan mole sauce).
I think you will find this charming hill town worth the effort to visit!
Linda Schooley, Your Let’s Go! Gal