I love Volterra and wouldn't mind living here for a while.
Piazza dei Priori is the central plaza with city hall and other government buildings as well as a tourist office and a few coffee shops/bars typical of Tuscan towns.
Here we are on Piazza San Giovanni, the religious center of the town with its octagonal baptistery and the cathedral. Also in this square is a building that was a former hospital and there used to be a cemetery as well. These four buildings are present in most Tuscan or Italian towns and form the Christian idea of the cycle of life: the baptistery symbolizing birth, the cathedral where everyday life takes place, the hospital, where you end up when you are sick, and, last but not least, the cemetery, the last resting place.
The most interesting part for me was the symbol of on top of the building above. A skull flanked by two wings. It is the Christian symbol of what is left after you die: bones and the soul. Everything else, all your possessions and your achievements are gone. So the wings are arranged in the shape of a V for Vanitas or vanity to remind man to care for his soul rather than his vain ambitions.
I learned all this from a well-known American tour guide in Volterra. Annie Adair lives in Volterra with her Italian husband who is a sommelier. Here are a few links to some very interesting videos by Annie, where you can find out more about the history and present life in Volterra.
And here are a few more pictures of Volterra and the view of the surrounding landscape.
What a fun idea to start a row of vines with a rose bush!
What about having breakfast on this nice patio?
The warm weather made the flowers bloom again in fall!
We were driving back to our villa, enjoying a beautiful sunset.
Next time a visit to the local market as well as some wine tasting. Yum!