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Shopping, Parking & Getting Around

  • Shopping

    Alabaster-working is Volterra’s exceptional craft. Shop in one of the alabaster showrooms of the bigger firms or visit a traditional alabaster-craftsman in his cramped workshop. The pleasure of shopping for alabaster in Volterra lies in the way the techniques practised today echo those used in Etruscan times. Visiting an alabaster workshop proves the point. Even the tools are very similar to those used in Etruscan times. Today’s alabaster workers can easily understand the techniques used by Etruscan alabaster masters on cinerary urns because their prehistoric tools were virtually the same as those found on a contemporary workbench. Prices depend on the type, colour and veining of the alabaster, with colours ranging from creamy white to murky yellow.

  • Cooperativa Artieri Alabastri

    Founded in 1895, this co-operative aims to safeguard the traditional alabaster craft. The shop and showrooms are in the centre of town, on the main square. But to see the workshops you need to head to the outskirts of town. The association also runs alabaster tours and experiences.

    Address: Piazza dei Priori 5, Volterra
    Web: www.artierialabastro.it

  • Alabastri Lavorati Italiani

    This family-run firm is one of the most respected alabaster-crafting workshops in town. Their showroom is certainly the most elegant. Choose from lamps, sculpture, figurines, chess-pieces, table-tops, picture frames: so much can be carved from alabaster.

    Address: Piazza Martiri della Liberta 5, Volterra
    Web: www.alabastro.it

  • Alabastri Ducceschi

    The third generation of an alabaster-crafting family us still at work on traditional designs.

    Address: Località San Quirico, Strada Statale (SS) 439, Volterra
    Web: www.alabastriducceschi.com

  • Alabastri Rossi Camillo

    Dating from 1912, this alabaster workshop offers demonstrations of the craft.

    Address: Via Lungo le Mura del Mandorlo 7, Volterra
    Web: www.rossialabastri.com

  • Parking

    The last few kilometres of road to Volterra can be pretty tortuous. Volterra, like most Tuscan towns, operates a strict ZTL system, a Limited Traffic Zone. This means that the Centro Storico (historic centre) is essentially closed to traffic, particularly for non-residents.

    Cars will need to be left outside Volterra or at the Piazza Martiri della Liberta car park in the south of town. This is the most convenient parking spot, and also convenient for the bus station and a taxi rank. Other car parks ring the town and include: Parcheggio di Porta Fiorentina (to the north); Parcheggio Porta Docciola (to the north-east); and Parcheggio di Vittorio Veneto (to the east).

    Advice on ZTLs: You may see other cars crossing the ZTL boundary (Limited Traffic Zone) and assume you can proceed. Not so. The drivers crossing into the ZTL zone will probably be locals and have residents’ permits. Visitors do not so are liable to fines. Zones are monitored by cameras, so tickets are issued immediately and automatically, as soon as (and each time) the car crosses the ZTL boundary.

    See Volterra’s city website for a downloadable map of parking sites in town:
    Web: www.comune.volterra.pi.it

  • Getting there & getting around

    Volterra may feel in the middle of nowhere and that is part of its charm, and part of the reason it is far more peaceful than San Gimignano. In reality, by car, it is around 40 km from the coast, 29 km from San Gimignano, 47 km from Siena, 63 km from Pisa and 70 km from Florence.

    Regular bus services connect Volterra with San Gimignano (via Colle Val d’Elsa), and there are also buses that connect with Pisa (via Pontedera), Siena and Florence, as well as with the unspoilt Tuscan coast at Cecina. Volterra's bus station is on Piazza Martiri della Libertà.

    Volterra is not an easy place to reach by rail. The most convenient stations are Cecina and Pontedera, but from there you still have to catch a bus to Volterra.

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