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Volterra

Many Tuscan towns are authentically medieval, as is Volterra. Today’s city is delightful, less touristy than San Gimignano, Cortona or Pienza but arguably just as beguiling. Even so, it’s an authentic medieval city with an Etruscan sensibility. Perched on a majestic, windswept ridge overlooking the Sienese hills, Volterra commands its setting and remains the most Etruscan of Tuscan cities. Between the 8th and 4th centuries BC, Etruria Propria flourished as a confederation of 12 city-states in Central Italy. Enigmatic Volterra began as the Etruscan city-state of Velathri but became the important Roman municipality of Volterra in the 4th century BC. Scrape the surface of Volterra and discover the Etruscan spirit beneath. Expect temple walls recycled into Roman buildings and ancient epigraphs encrusted in Renaissance palaces. Walking round the defensive fortifications reveals views of this multi-layered medieval town, with its Roman and Etruscan walls, and the wide sweep of countryside below.

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