What to see in

by Alessandro Gatto

Piazza dei Priori with its grand scenographic effect is without a doubt one of the most beautiful of Italian piazzas. This was the medieval city centre which hosted activities of the Commune.

Here stands Palazzo dei Priori, begun in 1208 and terminated in 1254; its façade has undergone various modifications through the centuries. The Acropolis stands on the terrace today called Pian di Castello.

Excavations have brought to light the "Piscina Romana," an enormous Roman cistern dating back to the III century B.C., dug into the rock and surmounted by vaults, resting on pilasters. Here we find the temple dedicated to the triad of Menerva, Uni and Tin (Minerva, Juno and Jupiter for the Romans).

Maschio is the fortress built in 1343 by the Duke of Athens and enlarged by Lorenzo de' Medici in 1475. A few years later it became a prison and confined the members of the Pazzi Conspiracy. Today, still a prison, it is not open for visits.

The Archaeological Museum is divided into three sections: prehistoric, Etruscan and Roman. Without a doubt the most fascinating piece on show is the "Ombra della Sera," a little bronze statue, measuring 50 cm. It represents the god of the evening shadow who comes before nightfall to accompany the wayfarer.

The Roman Theatre, built in the Augustan Age, came to light with the excavations of 1950. Beside it stands a little temple built in the III century A.D. and devoted to the "Bona Dea." Behind the theatre, the remains of the Baths of Bona Dea.

photo: "Ombra della Sera"

See also:

The Etruscans, their skill in working metals

ancient Etruscan city

How to reach Volterra even by bicycle

The Shadows of Volterra
fascinating ancient Tuscan city in photographs
The Last Judgement
following restoration

The Last Judgement
two schools to fresco Brunelleschi's Cupola

The remains of a Lombard village
discovered beneath the Tower of Pisa
Florence's historic football match

A blend of rugby, football and wrestling that fascinates Florentines and tourists

The Origins of "The Florence's Historic Football Match"

The Exhibition

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