The salutary mother of Volterra who likes to be admired from on high.When the sea retreated, millions of years ago, she left a precious commodity as a memento: salt, which became Volterra’s oldest asset. Its economic importance back then can be compared with oil today.The other valuable commodity that the water gave to Volterra was alabaster. Humans, back in the Etruscan age, took possession of it and the town is still famous for its alabaster workshops and factories. Salt and alabaster, gifts from the water to this inland town.
Harsh and wild, gentle and beguiling.Volterra is a land of contrasts. Crumbly and clay-rich, which has left its mark over the centuries (the Balze), next to wooded hills and others burnt by the sun and whipped by the wind.
The shades of ochre, green and white of “Le Biancane” hills beside the grey of the hardest stone, il panchino, with which the ancient town was built.It is here, on this land, where humankind constructed its greatness. Today, Volterra is a town that, from the height of its ridge, cherishes an extraordinary past and wishes to demonstrate its present-day look with pride.
In the sun and mist, the city frees itself in an unending flight.The city truly seems to be in flight in the often clear blue sky, sometimes dark grey, dotted, during the day, with white clouds that dart quickly in several directions and, at night, charged with the brightest of stars.From the height of its hill, the air that surrounds Volterra is peculiar, often cast in mystery. The mystery remains even in those who seek to discover something more about the local residents. A strong, courageous people who, from the height of the hill, feels superior to Pisa, Siena and Florence.
In a medley of land and sky.Sometimes, in the blue sky, the wind sweeps up columns of whitish smoke. They come from concrete towers, but their origin is the centre of the earth. They are the “fire” of Larderello, which humans have used for centuries. To cool it down and channel it, to make best use of it, mankind built the Devil’s Valley! But it’s not the Devil’s Valley alone that connects Volterra with “fire”. There’s something else that’s even more beguiling. It appears at night, at sunset. The whole of the town and the surrounding hills turn red. Fire red that, in just a few minutes, turns ochre, pink and purple. Look at the town perched on its ridge, between sky and land, and it’s like living in a surreal reality, a world in which the four elements of nature are all there, altogether.
These words originate from the publication “Volterra, Volaterrae, Velathri”, by Massimo Gentili and stemming from an idea by journalist Piera Rolandi, the first female anchorwoman on Italian news broadcast Tg2. Piera did the Pomarance campaign during her days off and summer holidays.