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29km (18 miles) SW of San Gimignano; 50km (31 miles) W of Siena; 72km (45 miles) SW of Florence; 300km (186 miles) NW of Rome

In the words of the writer D. H. Lawrence, Volterra is “on a towering great bluff that gets all the winds and sees all the world.” Volterra seems to rear higher than any other Tuscan town, rising a precipitous 540m (1,772 ft.) above the valley below and drawn out thinly along a narrow ridge with a warren of medieval alleys falling steeply off the main piazza. You’ll see the town long before you arrive, pointing a grimace at the world from way above the pastures of the Valdera.

 

Lawrence came here to study the Etruscans, who took the 9th-century-b.c. town established by the Villanovan culture and by the 4th century b.c. had turned it into Velathri, one of the largest centers in Etruria’s 12-city confederation. Seeing their haunting bronzes and alabaster funerary urns is a compelling reason to venture over here, though fans of Stephanie Meyer’s teen vampire trilogy, “Twilight,” might come to see the town that is the home of the Volturi.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.