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Mura Medievali e Fonti - Volterra

medieval walls

In the 13th century were built the Medieval walls of the city, just because the Etruscan walls were far too extensive to guarantee defensife protection.

The Gates

  • Porta a Selci - The gate leads to Siena, and was built in the 16th century to replace the earlier gate, known as the Sun Gate, destroyed when the fortress was erected in the 15th century.

  • Porta Marcoli - Probably built in the 14th century, the gate served as access to the Olivetan monestery at S. Andrea (today a seminary) and a convenient entrance for the farmers coming into town from the surrounding countyside.

  • Porta di Docciola - Built in the 13th century, the gate served as a link between the city and the fertile valley below. The gate, with an exterior round arch and inner pointed arch, still preserves the features of 13th century Volterran architecture.

  • Porta Fiorentina - Originally called S.Agnolo after the nearby church dedicated to the Archangel, presents the same architectual structure typical of Volterra although modifications carried out in the 16th century are still evident. This gate leads to Florence through the Era valley, Castagno, Gambassi and Castelfiorentino.

  • Porta San Francesco - This gate is also known as the Gate of Santo Stefano or the Pisan Gate as it leads to Pisa through the Era valley. It is the only gate that still preserves traces of the original frescoes painted in the vaults and an engraving of the Pisan canna, a unit of length, slightly longer than that of Volterra engraved on the façade of the Palazzo dei Priori.

  • Porta San Felice - The gate with a single arch sustained on both sides by the medieval walls is very different from all the other gates of the city. The gate flanks a tiny chapel with a bell tower and offers a magnificent panoramic view of the soft rolling hills as far as the sea.

The Fountains

  • Fonte di Docciola - At the Docciola Gate (Porta di Docciola). The fountain was built in 1254 by Maestro Stefano. At the bottom of a steep hill this evocative architectual splendour is a little hidden today. During the Middle Ages the water served the mills and the wool industry in the Era valley.

  • San Felice - Similar to Docciola, this fountain designed by Chelino Ducci Tancredi was built in 1319 by the inhabitants of Borgo Santo Stefano. In the vicinity there are the remains of the Etruscan wall and an arch which local historians have named the Porta Romana, and probably served as the entrance to the Roman Baths (Terme Guarnacciane).
Porta San Francesco, 56048 Volterra (PI)
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