Italy: Volterra

Volterra is located in the province of Pisa in the Italian city, Tuscany. Volterra mainly attracts tourists because of its medieval character. Fans of the Twilight saga also like to visit the small town because part of the vampire story takes place in Volterra.

History

Volterra was already inhabited during the 10th century BC and was founded by the Etruscans. In the fifth century AD, Volterra received an episcopal see, making the city the center of the area. The bishops resided in Castello, where a Fortezza was later built. In the mid-fourteenth century the Florentines seized power and in 1530 the city became part of Tuscany.

General

Volterra is located on a hill overlooking the Tuscan hills in the area. The city has around 11,000 inhabitants and attracts many tourists every year because of its rich past and its medieval monuments. Volterra has also gained a lot of fame through the Twilight books, which are especially popular with teenage girls.

Sights

  • Duomo di Volterra: the Duomo has 13th century pulpits with sculpted panels and is built in Romanesque style.
  • Palazzo dei Priori: the Palazzo dei Priori is the oldest town hall in Tuscany and was built between 1208 and 1254. The local government was seated here in the Middle Ages.
  • Museo Guarnicci: here you can find remains of the Etruscan period.
  • Roman Theater of Volterra: was already built in the first century BC.
  • Fort of the Medici: Still used today as a state prison.

 

Twilight

Volterra has been visited by Twilight fans for several years now. The Twilight Saga, written by Stephanie Meyer, is partly set in this Tuscan town. Initially, the author of the Twilight books did not know about the existence of Volterra. In the books she writes about vampires called the Volturi. While surfing the internet she discovered that there was a city called Volterra, and because of the similarity in the names Volturi and Volterra, she decided that Volterra was a suitable home for the Volturi. In the second part of the Twilight saga, called New Moon, Edward thinks his girlfriend Bella is dead. He therefore goes to Volterra to challenge the Volturi to kill him. He cannot live without his Bella. Ultimately, he is saved by Bella and they manage to escape the Volturi together.
However, the film of the book of the same name was not shot in Volterra. The people of Volterra were against the city becoming a tourist attraction because of Twilight. Another Tuscan town, Montepulciano, managed to impress the film crew and the film was ultimately shot there. The residents of Volterra have always found it important that their city remained authentic. They didn’t want stores with knick-knacks or extra pizzerias. It was important to them that Volterra retained its originality and did not become a film set.
Visitors to the city can opt for a special Twilight tour with the guides’ motto: They want vampires, we give Volterra. The guides show all kinds of medieval monuments and then end up in a prison, where everyone is served a bloody red drink by someone wearing a cloak. Since the Twilight film New Moon in 2009, the city has had more than 50,000 extra hotel nights.

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