Volterra: vampires and tourism in the heart of Tuscany

March 11, 2014

Famous for its remarkable historical center of Etruscan origin, for the sensational thirteenth-century walls and for the extraction and processing of alabaster, in recent years, Volterra has received a further boost for tourism thanks to the writer Stephenie Meyer, who has decided to settle here a part of the novel New Moon, the second book of the acclaimed Twilight Saga, then adapted into an equally well-known movie. This fact has meant that not only Volterra has become the destination of thousands of fans of film tourism from all over the world, but that it is now collectivelly recognized as a land populated by vampires.

In Meyer's novel, in fact, Volterra is the place where the Volturi, an ancient family of vampires, reside. But in reality this town in the province of Pisa has been chosen as location of New Moon most for the random similarity between the two names, rather than the unlikely presence of supernatural beings. Because of that, the many visitors who walk from top to bottom the picturesque streets of the old town in hopes of meeting the pale relatives of Edward and Bella, the two main characters of Twilight, probably will remain disappointed. But they can be widely consoled discovering the other wonderful attractions of Volterra.

First, the walls of Etruscan origin then modified in the Middle Ages, where is Porta all'Arco, beautifully preserved. The majestic Fortezza Medicea (Medici Fortress), built on the highest point of the hill where the town rises. The Palazzo dei Priori, erected in thehomonymic square in 1246. The Roman Theatre, which was found in the 50s and dated first century BC. And then many churches among which the Romanesque cathedral dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta, accomplished between the twelfth and thirteenth century. In front of the cathedral stands the Baptistery of San Giovanni, built in the second half of the thirteenth century. More artistic and monumental evidences of Volterra are kept in the three main museums: the Etruscan Museum, the Art Gallery and the Museum of Sacred Art.

Volterra is easily accessible by car through the three main roads that connect it to Cecina, Colle Val d'Elsa and Pontedera. The nearest railway stations are those of Cecina and Pontedera, linked to the city via numerous bus routes, while the most convenient airport is the "Galileo Galilei" International Airport of Pisa.

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