posted in: Italy | 14

Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region in central Italy. Florence Is the home to some of the world’s most recognizable Renaissance art and architecture, including Michelangelo’s “David”s statue, the Duomo basilica and Botticelli’s works in the Uffizi Gallery. It is also surrounded by wonderful little towns and villages. Most people who come here on holiday go to Siene and San Gimignano, but there are so many more great places that are just as nice but not crowded with tourist. I am on a quest to visit as many as I can. Volterra is one of these great places.

Volterra is a walled hill town about 80 km/50 miles from Florence. This makes for a nice day trip either by car or you can also get there by train and bus. I am lucky to have a new friend with access to a car and also likes to explore.

Last spring I was having a prosecco at my corner bar and met Victor who was in Florence for a month visiting his Italian friends. Being from Southern California, recently widowed and retired we had a lot in common. He was very interested in my story and how I started my nuova vita (new life )here in Florence. I saw him again the next evening and he told me I inspected him and agreed life was too short not to be bold. He returned to Pasadena, sorted his affairs, rented his house and moved here in September for a year. He is my pal, my buddy and my good friend. After being here a month he had the good fortune to have his friend Sharmagne come and visit. 

They called me up and said let’s go to Volterra.

This angel statue is a war memorial commemorating Volterra war dead.  I tried to find some more information about it with no luck.  I think it is gorgeous and would like to know more about it. 

One of the top sites in Volterra is the Duomo (cathedral) of Santa Maria Assunta. It dates back to 1120 and the interior was heavily modified in the Renaissance era in 1584. It has a richly decorated, gilded Renaissance ceiling and several frescos chapels. The space is divided by 22 columns covered in stucco stimulating pink granite. 

There are 6 chapels which house works by artist from the late 16th Century. 


The cathedral was hosting an exhibit of some extraordinary art.  This Holy Water Fount from 1577 made from alabaster.


Sharmagne caught this fun picture of Victor and I jockeying for position to take our picture  

I never get enough of the medieval streets in these Tuscany towns.

All throughout the city, you’ll see many items of alabaster stone in many store fronts, I learned that it is an ancient tradition in Volterra. The precious material coming from nearby quarries since Etruscan times. All the items you see and can buy are handcrafted by artisans that still follow traditional methods of working alabaster, passed through many generations.


For you Twilight fans this is where some of the series was filmed.  In this main square there was evidence that some filming was going on and we saw many big film crew trucks but we never found out what.

Church of Sant’ Agostino is a small church and what was part of the convent of the religious order of St. Augustine. 

Love the chandelier.

Time for lunch, since it was a Sunday we should have made reservations. We were able get into Del Duca, known for many dishes containing boar..  I settled for a lentil soup with truffles.


Sharmagne had pasta with celery pesto.

Victor went for the pasta with boar ragù.

Roman sites include a theater, the forum, and baths. The Roman theater dates back from the 1st Century BC. The area was used as a trash dump in the Middle Ages and were covered until 1951, when excavation started.

What a wonderful day at a fabulous place with nice people.  We really only touched the surface and I can’t wait to go back maybe will go for a couple of days.  This was our view leaving this hilltop  town.


14 Responses

  1. Richard Greenwood
    | Reply

    Have you been to Radda? When we spent 3 weeks in Florence, last year, our friend and guide, Alessandro Tombelli, took us there. It was wonderful. Alessandro might know the answer to your question about the war memorial in Volterra. He serves as a guide and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Tuscany.

    Your blog is wonderful.

    • sally carrocino
      | Reply

      Grazie so much. I am beyond appreciative on your remanks. No I have not been there but it is on my list.

  2. Richard Greenwood
    | Reply

    Oops, I forgot to say that if you email me I can give you Alessandro’s phone number.

  3. Victor
    | Reply

    Great job, Sally, to collect so much info and so many fine images in such a brief afternoon! It really was a lot of fun, even if you lost one of your gloves.

    • sally carrocino
      | Reply

      Thank you Victor. We hav so many plac s to go

  4. Efrat
    | Reply

    Glad you liked it!Paolo and Did too! Next time go to the amazing Etruscan museum!

    • sally carrocino
      | Reply

      Yes that’s why I want to go back. We ran out of time.

  5. ERIC
    | Reply

    Hi Sally, enjoy all your updates, so happy you are enjoying life! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year!

    xo Eric

  6. Diane Benson
    | Reply

    Dear Sally,

    I love ur emails and I love Florence. I would like to spend three weeks in Florence next year either in Spring or Fall and wonder if u know of rental or bnb that aré less than $100/ day.

    THANKS for ir Great photos and informative letters.

    Diane Benson

    • sally carrocino
      | Reply

      Hi Diane
      Yes you can find something in that price range.

      • Richard Greenwood

        In response to Diane Benson’s query, we found a two bedroom, two bath apartment last year through “Home Away.” The cost for this apartment on San Nicolo, about 20 minutes from Ponte Vecchio and the Duomo was roughly $100 per night.

  7. Rob Schantz
    | Reply

    Thank you so much for this and all of your blogs. They are amazing and delightful insights.

  8. Savannah Woods
    | Reply

    Love your blog and accompanying photos!

  9. colleen
    | Reply

    So very interesting!

    Thank you!

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