In Part One I looked at the bucolic landscapes of beautiful Tuscany. The alluring greens and golds of the meadows nestled beneath pastel farmhouses and venerable ochre villas. Bliss.
However Tuscany can offer the traveller even more tempting reasons to visit. Namely the small hamlets and ancient villages where the pace of life seems to be ubiquitously set to saunter. And why would you do anything at great pace in the heat of summer. This is a way of life that greatly appeals to me!
In another post on another day I will feature the beauty and history of Florence. This post will focus on the lesser known and the hidden.
Whilst not necessarily ‘hidden’ per se Volterra is certainly not on the normal tourist route through Tuscany – and it’s the better for it! Established as a place of habitation as far back as neolithic times it is the Etruscan history that pre-dates the Romans that I find most interesting.
You can wander many of its ruins and literally touch ancient history. That is something that I find spellbinding. To touch something that was built by human hands millennia ago. A tactile reunion of modern-day and history.
But it’s not just the history that provides the visitor with Tuscan delights. Volterra is a calm place. It is a place to wander within its ancient walls. A place to sit and gaze. A place to explore and get lost amidst its labyrinthine alleys.
Volterra is a place to meld into the pace of Tuscan life. To slow down, explore and observe. It’s by far and away one of my favourite villages in all of Europe.
This tiny village hewn into the Val d’orcia in the heart of Tuscany is well worth a detour.
Revered for its thermal waters since Roman times the large rectangular ‘Square of sources’ in fact dates only back to medieval times. Like anywhere in Tuscany a visit outside of peak holiday season will be rewarded with fewer visitor shoulders to rub against. When I visited in April there was only one other person there! However I did note with a slight cringe that there was a large coach-parking area in the car park.
Nonetheless whether it is busy or not I recommend a visit. It is unlike any other village in Tuscany.
I hope you enjoy this visual tour of Tuscany, her people and her villages.
Tuscany in pictures. Part One. Countryside.
Volterra information. Visit the town’s website.
Interested in walking in Italy? Here is the amazing company that I travelled with.