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Explore Volterra, Tuscany

March 6, 2018

As many of you know by now, here at ActivityBreaks.com we offer ticket and accommodation packages for Andrea Bocelli’s hometown concert held every summer at the Teatro del Silenzio in Lajatico, Tuscany. Sometimes these are performances of his own songs often accompanied by some famous special guests, other years he performs an opera. In July 2018 he will be performing the lead role in a production of Andrea Chénier; for more information on the opera itself see this very informative blog post by Opera North: Andrea Chénier in a nutshell

For those who have already booked or plan to attend we have put together a list of what to see and do in the area to make the most of your stay.

Many people attending the concert will be staying in the nearby town of Volterra, a characteristic walled town perched atop a Tuscan hillside. It is one of the less well known in the area when compared to more famous destinations like nearby San Gimignano, meaning it has a quieter, more relaxed air and there are fewer tourists.


Fun fact:  Volterra featured in the famous Twilight book series, home to the ‘Volturi’ a coven of powerful vampires, though the scenes from the film were shot over 100km away in Montepulciano. 


 

Volterra and around:

Piazza dei Priori and the Palazzo dei Priori  In many ways the focal point of the town, you cannot avoid stopping off here while exploring the narrow winding streets of the centre, and they offer a real sense of the long and varied history of the town. The cathedral is just off the piazza and you should go inside just to see the spectacular ceiling.

City wall  The original structure was built when Volterra was an important Etruscan centre over 2,000 years ago and the imposing Porta dell’Arco gate still survives today, albeit a modified version dating back to medieval times. Those interested in Etruscan history might also like to visit the Etruscan acropolis and the Guarnacci Etruscan museum.

More museums  The local art gallery also doubles as the civic museum, and for those interested in sculpture the Alabaster Ecomuseum tells the history of its excavation in the area and its production. Another more macabre attraction if you have the stomach for it is the Museum of Torture…

The Roman theatre  Dates back to the 1st century BC, and it, along with the forum and baths was rediscovered during excavations in the 1950s.

The Medici Fortress  Built on the highest point overlooking the town, this fortress was expanded by Lorenzo the magnificent after Florence seized control of Volterra in the 1470s. It is now used as a maximum-security prison so visits to the interior are very restricted!

Local specialities  After all this sightseeing why not enjoy a wine tasting in a local wine cellar in Volterra accompanied by local cured meats and cheeses. Contact us for more information.

Wider Tuscany  Explore Siena and San Gimignano, Pisa and Lucca, or Montalcino and Montepulciano on a cultural guided tour mixed with wine and food tastings...

 

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...excursions include:

PISA & LUCCA:  Admire the leaning tower and discover the city of 100 churches
• Wine tasting
• Entrance to Pisa Cathedral
• Guided tour of Pisa
• Self-guided tour of Lucca

DINNER IN THE CHIANTI VINEYARDS:  Enjoy an authentic Tuscan meal surrounded by vineyards
• Winery visit with wine tasting
• Dinner in the vineyard (an outdoor barbecue accompanied by typical Tuscan dishes)

BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO:  Explore Montalcino and taste the world-famous wines.
• Free time in Montalcino
• Wine, oil and balsamic vinegar tasting
• Snack with sliced cold meat and typical salami
• Visit two famous wine estates with tour of the wine cellar

CHIANTI AND BRUNELLO:  Enjoy a full-day tour of Tuscan villages and wine regions.
• Wine tasting and light lunch consisting of typical Tuscan dishes
• Snack with sliced cold meat and typical salami
• Visit two famous wine estates
• Self-guided tour of Montalcino

CHIANTI AND CASTLES:  Enjoy 2 wine tastings and explore the magnificent Monteriggioni Fortress
• Wine, oil and balsamic Vinegar tasting
• Snack with sliced cold meat and typical salami
• Visit two famous estates with wine cellar tour
• Tour of the most characteristic villages, abbeys and castles
• Self-guided tour of Monteriggioni fortress and a local winery

For prices and availability contact us.

Have you been before? Have we missed anything out? We love getting tips and feedback so let us know in the comments below!

 

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