July 5, 2013

0719 ITALY (Tuscany) - Volterra: Historical City and Cultural Landscape (UNESCO WHS - Tentative List)

Perched on harsh tableland at 552 meters above sea level, above the valleys of the Era and Cecina rivers,  known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri, to the Romans as Volaterrae, Volterra has preserved the spatial organisation, structure, materials, and shapes typical of the Communal age almost in full, in a rich chronological stratification. In addition it is a testimony of the peculiar mining activities concerning metals and rare stones such as alabaster. For all of these it was included in 2006 in the Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage List.

After Volterra become a free Commune in the 12th century were built the new walls of the town and Palazzo del Popolo (People's Palace), subsequently renamed Palazzo dei Priori, but also were opened the building yards of the Cathedral and the Baptistry, and the central square, the Prato (Lawn), took the present shape. In the second half of the 14th century it fell in Florentine hands and, by a decision of Lorenzo the Magnificent, it was provided with a fortress, one of the most formidable military buildings of the Renaissance.

Even today the city is almost wholly inside the medieval walls, and has an very well preserved centre, focused on the Piazza dei Priori. The surrounding landscape has also retained its features, with large farms including major architectural gems such as the Badia Camaldolese. Volterra is also known as the place where alabaster was mined and processed even since since the time of the Etruscans. After the decline experienced during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the alabaster handicraft began to flourish again in the 17th century, this material becoming famous all over the world.

About the stamps
The first postcard, depicting Mario Calderara, is part of the series Italian Pioneers of Aviation, about which I wrote here. The second, depicting a woman portrait by Filippino Lippi (0.23 EUR), is part of a definitive set named Donna nell'arte (Women in Art), about which I wrote here.

Volterra - Wikipedia
Volterra: Historical City and Cultural Landscape - UNESCO official website 

Sender. Marius Vasilescu
Sent from Florence (Tuscany / Italy), in 19.04.2012
Photo: Luciano Mugnaini

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