Situated in the south-east of the province of Pisa, the territory of Volterra lies on an extensive Pliocene basin crowned by a sandstone ridge 550 metres above sea level over which the historical city spreads.


Monte Voltraio

The ridge dominates and devides the Era valley in the north and the Cecina valley in the south.
The two respective rivers which meander through deep valleys with their streams, brooks, waterfalls and natural water fonts supply the area and the arable land with an abundant supply of water.
The topography of the landscape is controlled by the underlying geology and the nature of the soils.
The distinctive feature of this unspoilt countryside and scenic landscape are the gently rolling hills.
The sandy soil provides some of the best arable land in the territory while the heavy clay soils and most of the outcrop are given over to rough pasture.
Where the deposits are mainly clays, erosion takes place producing barren knolls and hog back ridges.
The rock salt deposits in Saline, Mazzolla and the Era basin and sporadic deposits of limestone,sandstone and alabaster contribute to the varied features of the landscape.

The arrangement of solid sandstone over a mechanically weak clay has resulted in some of the most spectacular landslips in the area culminating in the dramatic deep walled chasm of Le Balze (the ravines).
In the east and south are the extensive stretches of dense woodland and lush forests. The Berignone-Tatti forest is in fact considered to be one of the most important areas of the Cecina Valley which abounds in wild boar, deer, foxes , a variety of nesting birds, deciduous woods and copses and rich undergrowth.


The erosions