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Volterra

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Volterra (ZIP code 56048) is 63 kilometers far from Pisa, that is the Chief Town of the homonymous province to whom the municipality belongs.

Volterra has a population of 11.267 inhabitants (Volterrani) and a surface of 252,06 square kilometers thus showing a population density of 44,70 inhabitants per square kilometer. It rises 531 metres above the sea level.

The City Hall is located in Piazza dei Priori 1, phone ++39 0588 - 86050, fax ++39 0588 - 80035: the E-Mail address is sindaco@comune.volterra.pi.it.

Population: The municipality of Volterra had a popolation of 12.879 inhabitants accordingly to the results of the national census made in 1991. After the national census made in 2001 the population was 11.267 inhabitants, thus showing during the years 1991 - 2001 a percentual variation of -12,52% inhabitants.

The inhabitants are distributed in 4.449 families with an average of 2,53 people per family.

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The place: The territory of the municipality lies between 68 and 629 metres above sea level.

The altimetric spawn is thus of 561 metres.

Work and workers:There are 268 industrial firms employing 780 people that are the 19,38% of the total of the workers. There are 270 service firms employing 421 people that are the 10,46% of the total of the workers. There are also 349 firms employing 1.246 people that are the 30,96% of the total of the workers. There are also 155 administrative offices emplying 1.577 workers that are the 39,19% of the total of the workers.

There is a total of 4.024 workers, that are the 35,71% of the inhabitants of the municipality.

Volterra is placed between the high valleys of Cecina and Era.

The economy of Volterra is mainly based on industrial activities but it also important the manufacture of the alabaster, that is a microcrystalline kind of chalk.

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It is supposed that the origin of Volterra goes back to the Prehistoric Age when there was an important Villanovan settlement (VIII-VII secolo B. C.).

Around V century B. C. started to develop a first Etruscan residential settlement that was called Velathri (meaning "the height") and were erected a first ring of walls and a fortress.

The Etruscan Age was a flourishing economic period: at that time the economy was based on the agricultural and trading activities and on the exploitment of mineral resources coming from the close hills.

Volterra held out against Rome for long but in 260 B. C. it was underwent to the Roman domination and became a Roman Chief Town.

During the Longbard Age Volterra became centre of the imperial administration. Between nineteenth and tenth centuries in Volterra occurred a great battle between the King of Italy, Berengario I, and the Marquis of Tuscany, Adalberto, that destroyed the town. The rebuilding of the urban centre was started by the Emperor Ottone I.

Between twelfth and thirteenth centuries Volterra became a free municipality and during the following century it had to built a new ring of walls in order to defend itself from the expansionist aims of the close cities of Florence and Pisa.

Copyright © Editori dell'Acero Panorama della campagna di Volterra

In 1361 Volterra was under the Florentine domination and in 1472 Florence imposed its autocratic policy removing every form of local autonomy because it was determinate to have a full control on the flourishing mines of salt and alum. In that period Lorenzo of Medici, called the Magnificent, started the building of a new fortress, today known as New Fortress, so to keep the city safe.

In the second half of sixteenth century, after the Medic’s domination, Volterra passed to the Lorena family. The Lorena’s policy aimed to restore the urban order and enhance the value of territorial richness. Therefore in 1769 was liberalized the export of the agricultural products.

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During Lorena’s domination Volterra experienced a long period of great economic and population increasing.

In 1861 Volterra was added to the Reign of Italy by the King Vittorio Emanuele II of Savoia.

Among the most interesting monuments to see in Volterra we point out here the Duomo (Cathedral), the Battistero (Baptistery), the Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo (Saint Archangel Michael Church), the Chiesa di Sant’Agostino (Saint Augustine Church), the Chiesa di San Francesco (Saint Francesco Church), the Museo Diocesano di Arte Sacra (Diocesan Museum of Holy Art), the Fortezza (Fortress), the Museo Guarnacci (Guarnacci Museum), the Palazzo dei Priori (Priors’ Palace) and the Balze (Crags).

Among several celebrations taking place periodically in Volterra we point out here the traditional "Show market of the white truffle" held on October. During the show it is also possible to taste the typical local wines and food.