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Loc. Ponsano Volterra
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Located in the south of the province of Pisa, home to about 10,000 inhabitants. Its territory is mostly hilly with gentle slopes, enclosed between the river Era to the north, and the river Cecina to the south. Volterra was one of the 12 most important etruscan cities, of this time has preserved many architectural structures as Porta dell'Arco and the Porta Diana but also much of the city walls, built of huge local stone blocks, and the great Acropolis. Volterra was the last Etruscan city to fall into the hands of the Romans (about the third century BC) who bequeathed to the town a theater. Many buildings in the heart of the city dates back to the Middle Ages: the Cathedral, or the Duomo, built in 1120 in romanesque style on an earlier church dedicated to St. Mary, the interiors were restored in 800. Nearby are also the Baptistery di San Giovanni (built in '200) and the Bell Tower (1493). Then there is the Fortezza Medicea, located on the highest part of the hill, is made up of two major fortifications, named the Rocca Antica and Rocca Nuova, connected by a walkway protected by walls. Finally, Palazzo dei Priori the oldest municipal building of Tuscany, headquarters of administration and bureaucracy, is located in the square in the center of the country. Volterra is known for the extraction and processing of alabaster. It is a type of stone, almost organic, that comes from the sea water sedimentations over time. Every civilization that has lived in the area has used this stone to make small artifacts and everyday objects. Its softness requires a particular sculptural technique to be able to realize the decorations and details. The city has not experienced a significant urban expansion trough the years so that much of it is still enclosed within the walls. This, together with its isolated position, gives it a special atmosphere to the small medieval village in the middle of the tuscan countryside.|Volterra
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