Piazza dei Priori

Explore the medieval heart of Volterra in a square lined with stunning palaces, where you can also stop to rest in open-air bars and restaurants.

Surround yourself with history at Piazza dei Priori, the historic center of Volterra. Here, fascinating medieval palaces sit alongside cafés and bars with tables that spill out of the old buildings. Spend hours sightseeing then unwind with a gelato in the atmospheric setting.

The importance of the piazza grew after Volterra became an independent commune. Visit the buildings that encircle the piazza to learn how the square was the heart of civic and religious life in the 13th century.

Start in the Palazzo dei Priori, which was built in the 1200s and still functions as the town hall of Volterra. Wander around the interior of the palace to see a stunning 15th-century fresco depicting the Crucifixion. Enter the Council Hall to examine the cross-vaulted ceilings and further examples of religious paintings.

The other major attraction in the square is the Palazzo Pretorio, recognizable for the tall Piglet’s Tower (Torre del Porcellino). Try to locate the statue of the tiny pig on the tower. Admire the triple-arched loggia that forms the façade of these historic private residences.

Turn off the square by the Palazzo dei Priori to find the Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta. Admire the 13th-century façade and the lavish interior, which is decorated with marble columns and medieval frescoes.

Rest in the piazza after taking in all the sights. Many restaurants and bars here offer outdoor seating. Enjoy a glass of Tuscan wine while watching the sun set over the historic square. The other buildings in the piazza include a police station, a post office and banks.

Piazza dei Priori is in the center of Volterra and can be accessed on foot in under 10 minutes from nearby sights such as Porta all’Arco and the Roman Theatre. The square also has its own bus stop and tourist information center. Visit on any day of the week for access to Palazzo dei Priori.

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