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The Cathedral, Volterra
The Roman Theatre, Volterra
The Fortress, Volterra
Palazzo dei Priori, Volterra
The Balze (Cliffs), Volterra
THE CATHEDRAL
THE ROMAN THEATRE
THE FORTRESS
PALAZZO DEI PRIORI
THE BALZE (CLIFFS)

 

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VILLAGES AND LANDSCAPES OF TUSCANY
 
VILLAGES AND LANDSCAPES OF TUSCANY
 
VILLAGES IN THE PROVINCE OF PISA
 
VOLTERRA
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SIGHTS
VOLTERRA
The Balze (Cliffs)
 

 

THE BALZE (CLIFFS)
Volterra, Pisa
 

The area around Volterra introduces the characteristic and the worrying landscape of the Balze, a high abyss that in the past have swallowed the Etruscan necropolis of the city and various medieval buildings between which the monastery of San Marco and the church of San Clemente. The phenomenon is caused from the presence of a layer of sand on the top, this layer is more resistant to the water erosion than of the below clay, this erosion provokes the lack of support to the sand layer that eroded to the base collapses to “slices” provoking the typical formation of the Balze.

The countryside around Volterra
The countryside around Volterra

Over the Cliffs are found some remarkable rests of the ancient Etruscan town-walls, from the parking in proximity of the Balze, it's possible to cover a short walk on foot along the ancient Etruscans walls from where is possible to admire a wide panoramas on the Balze and the country below and from where is clearly visible the precarious position of the Camaldolese Abbey. The Abbey with the annexed church was build in 1030 near to the church of San Giusto al Botro that swallowed in the 17th century for the progress of the Balze. Today the Camaldolese Abbey is found in state of abandonment, because of the incessant progress of the erosion of the Balze, but of the old building can still be admired the elegant cloister and the refectory. Of the church, ruined in 1895, still remains a Romanesque apse and its bell tower of medieval age.

Back to the parking and continuing walking in the opposite direction, a short walk takes first to the Mensari Gate, that is opened on the wild and impressive landscape of the Balze, continuing we reached at last the San Giusto's church, that rises on the top of the hill between two row of cypresses and a beautiful green meadow; the church, begun in 1627, in substitution of a collapsed one for the progress of the Balze, was finished in 1775. The facade in unrefined stone is flanked from four columns in stone that support the statues of Saint Giusto, San Clemente, San Lino and Sant'Ottaviano. The inside at Latin cross has one only aisle, is an example of moderate baroque and conserve a canvas of Cosimo Daddi, representing the visit of Sant'Elisabetta, a canvas of Giandomenico Ferretti, executed in 1743, with San Francesco Saverio that preach in the Indies, a small table, central part of a polyptych of Neri di Bicci of the 15th century, and in the oratory of the Company, the fresco of the Volterrano (Baldassarre Franceschini) representing Elia sleeping. The high altar conserve the urn with the relics of the Saints Giusto and Clemente. On the floor in front of the entrance of the oratory is the so-called Gnomone, a sun-dial planned from Giovanni Inghirami in 1801: the light penetrates from a practiced hole in the dome crossing the transept and projects the solar ray on the white marble line of the sun-dial, marked on the pavement, indicating for all the year the midday. In proximity of the San Giusto Church, is a remarkable hypogeum (5th century bC, that it's composed from some rooms dug in the subsoil with bases for the deposition of the urns and supported from pillars gains in the same cliff. Along the Provinciale Pisana road that goes towards the historical center of Volterra, is found another part of the Etruscan town-walls.

Etruscan walls in the vicinity of Balze, Volterra
The Camaldolese Abbey threatened by landslides of Balze, Volterra
Inscription and emblem on the facade of the church of San Giusto, Volterra
Etruscan walls in the vicinity of Balze, Volterra
The Camaldolese Abbey threatened by landslides of Balze, Volterra
Inscription and emblem on the facade of the church of San Giusto, Volterra
Etruscan walls along the provincial road (strada provinciale Pisana) leading to Volterra, in the background the bell tower of the church of San Giusto
Menseri Gate, Volterra
Church of San Giusto, Volterra
Etruscan walls along the provincial road (strada provinciale Pisana) leading to Volterra, in the background the bell tower of the church of San Giusto
Menseri Gate, Volterra
Church of San Giusto, Volterra
The countryside around Volterra
The countryside around Volterra
The typical landscape of Balze, Volterra
The typical landscape of Balze, Volterra
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