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Alabaster crafting

  • Alabaster crafting

    As everything in Volterra, even alabaster-carving is an Etruscan legacy. It is one of the many gifts the Etruscans have passed onto their descendants in this most Etruscan of cities. The ancient craftsmen made great use of alabaster from the 5th century BC onwards, primarily for their beautifully sculpted funerary urns. In the local museums and workshops you’ll come across bowls, urns, medallions, religious artefacts, candleholders, lamps, vases and Neoclassical sculpture. This art of alabaster working has been passed down over the centuries with only very limited changes. Alabaster is sold in Volterra’s workshops, as well as being exported.

    Begin in the Etruscan Museum to see a careful reconstruction of an Etruscan workshop. You can also see the grand collection of alabaster created by Giuseppe Viti, the city’s foremost alabaster merchant in the 19th century. Palazzo Incontri-Viti displays his superb alabaster pieces, including the grand candelabras in the ballroom, made for Emperor Maximilian, who was shot in 1867 before he could collect them. The Alabaster Museum is the other tempting option. Set in a medieval tower, the Alabaster Museum (Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro) tells the history of the translucent stone from its excavation to its commercial production. On display are prize pieces from the Etruscan era or today, or from the 18th century, when the local crafts industry was at its peak.

    Address: Alabaster Museum, Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro, Via dei Sarti, Volterra
    Web: www.volterratur.it

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