Time for a Peek!

A peek back in history

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the theme of Peek.  A bit of an interesting theme, as it allows us to take it into many directions.

The image that I decided on for this post is one from last weekend’s outing to Oxbow For my first image in a series for this week (yes, I thought of several already ūüôā ), we’re taking a peek down a quintessential street in the lovely town of Volterra in the province of Tuscany in Italy. ¬†The added bonus in this image is the gentleman in the lower right of the image, who is also taking a peek down the street.

Take a breath of the atmosphere in Volterra…

20170522-Volterra_DSF1356_7_8_tonemapped
Streets of Volterra

As you see, these streets are just filled with old World charm, taking us back through the centuries and leaving us to imagine all that has occurred here.

Hope you enjoyed this look back and have a wonderful day!

Roman Theater in Volterra

Surprising finds in Volterra

Yesterday, I shared with you a view of the wonderful Tuscan hill town of Volterra, looking over the roofs toward the valley.  Another wonder from this city is the Roman theater that sits just outside the old town walls.

This theater was not discovered until the 1950s, when local economist Enrico Fiumi gained permission to perform a test dig near the soccer field, where he theorized the existence of a Roman theater.  With the help of patients of the local psychiatric hospital that he directed, he excavated a small section to find fragments of columns and a young head of Augustus

20170522-Volterra-Amphitheatre_DSF1485_6_7
Roman theater in Volterra

It took another 10 years to gain permission for the rest of the excavation, which resulted in a beautiful example of a theater, including the scaenae frons, which is the backwall behind what would have been a wooden stage.

This is a great location to visit, and it should be noted that the ticket also gives you admission to the Etruscan excavation on the other side of town (a 5-10 minute walk).

Technical Details

This image series was captured with my Fujifilm X-T1 using a Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR lens.  Exposure settings for the series of images were at 1/150-1/600 second, f/9 at 800 ISO.  They were processed using Photomatix Pro.

Looking over Volterra

Beautiful vistas and rich history

Volterra is a walled mountaintop town in the Tuscany region of Italy of which its history dates to before the 7th century BC and has substantial structures from the Etruscan, Roman, and Medieval periods.

Volterra, known to the ancient Etruscans as Velathri or Vlathri and to the Romans as Volaterrae, is a town and comune¬†in the Tuscany region of Italy. The town was a Bronze Age settlement of the Villanovan culture, and an important Etruscan center (Vel√†thre, Velathri or Felathri in Etruscan, Volaterrae in Latin language), one of the “twelve cities” of the Etruscan League.

20170522-Volterra_DSF1497_8_9
Looking over Volterra

The site is believed to have been continuously inhabited as a city since at least the end of the 8th century BC. It became a municipium allied to Rome at the end of the 3rd century BC.¬†The city was a bishop’s residence in the 5th century, and its episcopal power was affirmed during the 12th century. With the decline of the episcopate, Volterra became a place of interest of the Florentines, whose forces conquered Volterra. Florentine rule was not always popular, and opposition occasionally broke into rebellion. These rebellions were put down by Florence.

When the Florentine Republic fell in 1530, Volterra came under the control of the Medici family and later followed the history of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

In recent history, Volterra was the residence of the Volturi,¬†a coven of rich, regal, powerful ancient vampires, who essentially act as the rulers of the world’s vampire population; of course, this was fiction, as part of Stephwnie Meyer’s Twilight series.

Technical Details

This image series was captured with my Fujifilm X-T1 using a Fujifilm XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR lens.  Exposure settings for the series of images were at 1/350-1/1500 second, f/9 at 1000 ISO.  They were processed using Photomatix Pro.

A Day in Volterra

A quintessential hill town

During our vacation in Italy, one of our driving goals is to get some time to relax and not hurry from location to location in an effort to get as much viewed as possible. ¬†Rather, spending some quality time in a smaller number of locations, which gives us a better feel for what these places are really like (and were like). ¬†As we’re focusing on hill towns in Tuscany, that means we have to make some decisions about which ones we want to visit; one of these choices was between San Gimignano and Volterra, both of which are well known towns.


Volterra became our first choice, as it is eminently walkable in relaxed fashion and has a great variety of points of interest.  We parked in the free lot (#3), which does require a considerable number of steps to be ascended in order to get into town.  In town, there are lots of quaint little streets, each with their own character and occasional vehicular traffic (locals only!).

The Basilica on the main square is beautiful in its construction of alternating rows of black and white marble, and impressive to see form the inside. ¬†It’s located next to the town hall, which is a rather lively piazza with lots of places to have an espresso or shop for alabaster ware.

After a delicious meal at Torre del Porcellino (I enjoyed my wild boar!), we sauntered over to visit the Etruscan excavation, which is an active archaeological site.  Pay to enter and you also will get access to the Roman amphitheater at the other side of town.  The excavation is of a site with several temples and surrounding houses, and also includes a descent (8 m) into a cistern from Roman times.

The Roman amphitheater is also very impressive, as it leans back against the old town walls and well worth the visit.

The atmosphere in Volterra was very relaxed and provided lots of great shopping for leather and alabaster carvings.  The gelato at Isola del Gusto was fantastic!