Volterra: Tuscany’s Hidden Gem that Hides Renaissance Palaces

With the likes of San Gimignano, Siena and Lucca, Tuscany is home to many hidden gems, where you can discover an authentic way of life and beautiful architecture. However, few cities are able to capture Tuscany’s past in the way that Volterra does.

Volterra is a historic city in Tuscany that is surrounded by ancient city walls and enjoys a prime hill-top location, offering visitors to this small city epic views of the surrounding countryside. Volterra has roots that date back to the 7th century BC and has glorious architecture that spans an extraordinary time period, from Etruscan to Roman to Medieval times.

Of its many intriguing and captivating structures, we particularly love the magnificent Renaissance palaces and we think you will too! So, if you are visiting Tuscany on a summer holiday this year, here is our guide to some of the most exquisite Renaissance palaces in Volterra.


Palazzo Inghirami

Palazzo Inghirami was built for Admiral Jacopo Inghirami in the 17th century and was based on a design by Gherardo Silvani – an Italian architect and sculptor who designed several Florentine and Tuscan buildings.

The palace is defined by its large hanging windows, which are framed by a grand portal on the ridge that features a splendid bronze bust.


Palazzo Maffei

Palazzo Maffei was named after Monsignor Mario Maffei, who was a bishop of Cavallion and whose remains lie in the monument by G. Angelo Montorsoli in Volterra’s Duomo. This palace, which is one of Volterra’s most impressive examples of Renaissance architecture, dates back to 1527 and is filled with light thanks to the numerous windows, which are lavishly decorated. One particularly intriguing aspect about Palazzo Maffei is the beautiful frescoes, which, as legend has it, were painted by Daniele Ricciarelli – an associate of Michelangelo who painted some parts of the Last Judgment.


Palazzo Beltrami

The style of this 16th century palace is intriguing, featuring framed windows with Gothic arches that are almost overwhelming. However, the overall feeling is one of elegance.


Palazzo Lisci (better known today as Palazzo Marchi)

This palace was once a medieval hospital and its construction was completed in two phases as the façade features an older lower part in stone with two large arches and a marble inscription (13th century) and then a newer part that sits above this, which dates back to the 18th century, offering a delightful contrast.


Palazzo Incontri (better known today as Palazzo Viti)

This palace has a comforting feel to it, perhaps due to the warm colours of its sandstone façade and its large windows that flood the palace with light. The Renaissance façade is attributed to Bartolomeo Ammannati, who was born near Florence in 1511; however, parts of the interior courtyard are thought to be the work of Luigi Campani – we particularly recommend seeking out the 18th century theatre, which features an ancient stage curtain adorned with the figure of the Volterra poet Aulus Persius Flaccus.


Palazzo Minucci (better known today as Palazzo Solaini)

The attention to detail in the design of this glorious Renaissance palace is reflected in the perfect symmetry of the palace façade, making it particularly unique. Local historians attribute it to Antonio da San Gallo and it is well worth visiting thanks to its impressive collection of local paintings and sculptures.


If you are thinking about a holiday to Italy or a multi-centre vacation featuring Tuscany, why not speak to one of our expert travel advisers about our custom-made Italy holidays. Call us locally on (UK) 01223 637331 or (US) 347-594-5500, or click here to send an online enquiry.

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