Blog 2020Friday June 26th, 2020

Volterra, Tuscany. The capital of the alabaster

I recently spent a day in Volterra, province of Pisa. Volterra is one of the most important historical Tuscan town, first great Etruscan ‘metropolis’, or as the ancient said ‘lucumonia’,  then Roman settlement. The town known medieval, Medicean and Grand-ducal memorable events, despite to its decentralized location.  Approaching Volterra the first thing to be noticed is its profile crowned by the imposing fortress, that rises at dominion of the underlying territory. This view make us understand how great was the strategical importance of the city. The hill on which it rises, about 555 meters high, is the higher of this area, unapproachable from every side without being sighted with large advance.

Fans of American author Stephanie Meyer know it as the setting for the second book in the Twilight series, New Moon. But Volterra has another claim to fame that is older than vampire tales. Since ancient times, Volterra has been known as the city of alabaster. The Etruscans mined alabaster in the nearby hills and considered it the stone of the dead. The mineral was used for elaborate funerary urns and caskets that housed the ashes of the departed, prized for its durability, beautiful coloration, natural veining and translucence. When the Romans ascended, alabaster fell out of favor and marble became the preferred sculpting material. It’s worthwhile a visit to the museum’s Etruscan collection. In the city center, there are many alabaster shops selling everything from wine stoppers to chandeliers, bowls to jewelry. Several shops have their workshops close by so you can see the craftsmanship, tools and carving process up close. Walking into the alabaster studio at Alab’Arte is like stepping back into time. Artist-owners Roberto Chiti and Giorgio Finazzo have been partners for 42 years, first meeting as students in art school. The workshop of Gloria Giannelli, located on the ground floor of Palazzo Tortoli, is next door to the Etruscan Museum. Giannelli began working in alabaster in 1980 and was the first woman in Volterra to enter the field. Her particular style of craftsmanship owes much to the traditional arts of embroidery and lace. She even markets her art as “lace-like creations in alabaster.” I then stopped in a nearby atelier where Vanna Spagnolo paints beautiful piece of art where also the frame is painted continuing the concept on the canvas and contributing to create beautiful effects. The following pictures are just a sample. Those ones taken from the drone help to understand the importance of the location that makes Volterra a stronghold of high value

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Porta di Docciola

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Fonte di Docciola

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – via Lungo le mura del Mandorlo. Down below, view over the Teatro Romano

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – the central Piazza dei Priori

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Alab’Arte, via Orti Sant’Agostino 28.
Roberto Chiti and Giorgio Finazzo work the alabaster in their “bottega” and it is possible to see them at work. Here Roberto is working
www.alabarte.com
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Alab’Arte, via Orti Sant’Agostino 28.
Roberto Chiti and Giorgio Finazzo work the alabaster in their “bottega” and it is possible to see them at work. Here Roberto is working
www.alabarte.com
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Alab’Arte, via Orti Sant’Agostino 28.
Roberto Chiti and Giorgio Finazzo work the alabaster in their “bottega” and it is possible to see them at work. Here Roberto is working
www.alabarte.com
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Alab’Arte, via Orti Sant’Agostino 28.
Roberto Chiti and Giorgio Finazzo work the alabaster in their “bottega” and it is possible to see them at work. Here Giorgio is working
www.alabarte.com
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Gloria Giannelli, artist of alabaster in her studio and show room, via Don Minzoni 13.
www.gloriagiannellialabastri.com
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Artist Vanna Spagnolo inside her Art Gallery “Colpa del vento” via Don Minzoni 34
www.colpadelvento.it
[email protected]

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Life Bistrot – Vegan Restaurant,
is located in the ancient center of the city of Volterra, in the heart of Tuscany, in the ancient Via Porta all’Arco, a few meters from the famous Piazza dei Priori. Here a coconut dessert with a chocolate topping

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – The Baptistery of San Giovanni is an octagonal 13th century religious building standing just in front of the Duomo of Volterra, in the center of the city. It was supposedly set up in the seventh century at the site of a Roman Temple dedicated to Sun worship. The statue is of St John the Baptist (1771) by Giovanni Antonio Cybei. The holy water receptacle is an ancient Roman sarcophagus

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – The Baptistery of San Giovanni is an octagonal 13th century religious building standing just in front of the Duomo of Volterra, in the center of the city. It was supposedly set up in the seventh century at the site of a Roman Temple dedicated to Sun worship. The statue is of St John the Baptist (1771) by Giovanni Antonio Cybei. The holy water receptacle is an ancient Roman sarcophagus

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – via di Castello leading to Archeological Park “Enrico Fiumi”

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Land Art by Mauro Staccioli (Volterra, 11 febbraio 1937 – Milano, 1º gennaio 2018), one of the founders of the modern Contemporary Art. Near Volterra, Staccioli sculptures frame the landscape in the Tuscany countryside around Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Land Art by Mauro Staccioli (Volterra, 11 febbraio 1937 – Milano, 1º gennaio 2018), one of the founders of the modern Contemporary Art. Near Volterra, Staccioli sculptures frame the landscape in the Tuscany countryside around Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Land Art by Mauro Staccioli (Volterra, 11 febbraio 1937 – Milano, 1º gennaio 2018), one of the founders of the modern Contemporary Art. Near Volterra, Staccioli sculptures frame the landscape in the Tuscany countryside around Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Land Art by Mauro Staccioli (Volterra, 11 febbraio 1937 – Milano, 1º gennaio 2018), one of the founders of the modern Contemporary Art. Near Volterra, Staccioli sculptures frame the landscape in the Tuscany countryside around Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra in the distance

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – the city centre

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra as seen from the drone

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – Badia Camaldolese topping the famous Balze di Volterra. In the distance the city of Volterra

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra as seen from the drone

 

Italy, Tuscany, Volterra – landscape

6 responses to “Volterra, Tuscany. The capital of the alabaster”

    • A dire il vero non sono troppo dentro questi “sofismi”, ma nel senso stretto del termine “land art” indubbiamente lo sono essendo opere d’arte inserite nel panorama. Poi se questo tipo di arte esposto in un contesto territoriale così ben definito, come le colline toscane nei dintorni di Volterra hanno una definizione diversa, sono pronto a recepire la correzione, ci mancherebbe altro. Non sono un critico d’arte e non saprei come altro definirle. Cmq grazie per il suo contributo

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