Porta Marcoli

The Medieval wall was built in the 13th century.When the Ghibellines succeeded the Guelfs
it was obvious that the Etruscan wall, recently repaired and reinforced in 1254, was far too extensive to guarantee defensive protection. In the Autumn of 1260 forty stone masons were hired to build a smaller circuit which was completed to much expense within a few years.

 

The Gates

Porta a Selci
The gate which leads to Siena, with a simple pointed arch 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. During a siege ,the tower above the gate used as an armoury, was destroyed in 1530. 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 fašade 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 Fonts

Fonte di Docciola
At the Docciola Gate, the font was built in 1254 by Maestro Stefano, as the inscription ,between the pointed arches, attests. 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 font designed by Chelino Ducci Tancredi was built in 1319 by the inhabitants of Borgo Santo Stefano as the inscription between the two arches attests.
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 all’Arco

Inserita nel ricorso delle antiche mura del V sec. a.C., deve senza dubbio la sua conservazione al suo utilizzo nella cinta medievale cittadina del XIII sec.. La costruzione di questa porta sembra si debba riferire a tre epoche diverse: i fianchi formati da blocchi rettangolari come le mure e a queste contemporanei, mentre gli archi, in tufo sembrano una ricostruzione avvenuta dopo l’assedio di Silla (80-82 a.C.). Di incerta collocazione le tre teste poste a decorazione dell’esterno, che potrebbero evocare sacrifici di vite umane nella conservazione di nuove costruzioni, o un ricordo del costume di affiggere alle porte le teste tagliate dei nemici vinti. Forse potrebbero rappresentare Giove e i Dioscuri, oppure la Triade Capitolina, Giove Giunone e Minerva.


Porta Fiorentina
La Fortezza Medicea

Costruita sul pi¨ alto ripiano del monte volterrano, Ŕ costituita da due corpi di fabbrica, la Rocca Antica e la Rocca Nuova, uniti insieme da una doppia cortina, coronata da un ballatoio sorretto da archetti pensili (bertesche) il cosiddetto Cammino di Ronda, mentre all’interno forma un vasto piazzale.
La Rocca antica presso porta a Selci, include parti di pi¨ antica fortificazione resi visibili da recenti restauri, e la torre di forma semiellittica, detta volgarmente la Femmina, attribuita al Duca di Atene.
La Rocca Nuova fu fatta innalzare da Lorenzo de Medici sul luogo dove esisteva il Palazzo dei Vescovi distrutto dai fiorentini nel 1472. ╚ costituita da ampio quadrato di pietra panchina, i cui angoli terminano in baluardi circolari: al centro si innalza la Torre del Mastio, che si impersona e rende famosa la Fortezza, della quale Ŕ la parte pi¨ monumentale.
Edificata ad uso militare fu, fin dall’inizio, utilizzata come carcere politico; nelle sue celle passarono sia gli oppositori dei Medici, sia i patrioti del nostro Risorgimento Nazionale.
Oggi ospita reclusi a vita e a tempo, con una sezione di carcere giudiziario.



Porta Menseri