The Palazzo Minucci-Solaini situated in the
centre of Volterra is attributed to Antonio Sangallo the Elder in collaboration with
Baccio DAgnelo. Built at the end of the 15th century, the palace is now the Art
Gallery and Civic Museum housing an important collection of paintings from local
monasteries, churches, the cathedral, the Saint Linus conservatory in San Pietro, Spedali
Riuniti and medieval and contemporary works of art property of the Guarnacci Museum.
The first paintings were collected by Luigi Fedra Inghirami, an employee of the cathedral.
He began to collect paintings from the deposits of suppressed religious orders which he
assembled in the Chapel of San Carlo in the cathedral in 1842. It was,however Corrado
Ricci , Superintendent and later Director General of Antiquities and Fine Arts who founded
the first Art Gallery in 1905 located on the second floor of the Palazzo dei Priori. The
collection was transferred to the Palazzo Minucci-Solaini in 1982.
A splendid example of Rennaissance architecture, meticulous restoration work has recently
revealed its original structure, the exquisite symmetary of the fašade and elegant
harmony of the interior courtyard.
The Deposition by Rosso Fiorentino,
The visit begins in the internal open courtyard
leading out to the garden and it is under the elegantly proportioned portico that
contemporary works of art are often exhibited.
Ascend the flight of stairs to the first floor.
Room I - A marble lunette portraying the scene of Acteon devoured by his hounds
in Medieval style by an unknown 12th century artist.
Two 12th century capitals in Volterran alabaster.The capital depicting a mermaid with a
forked tail and Daniel among the lions is particularly interesting.A small head of a
Prophet in Carrara marble from the Fontana Maggiore in Perugia, attributed to Giovanni
Pisano(13th century). A 13th century Crucifix painted by a Tuscan Master.The elongated
features, and drooping head place this master in the circle of Coppo di Marcovaldo.
Room II - Two wood panels of San Giusto and SantUgo from a polyptych datable to the
14th century Sienese school of art; a small altar piece of the Virgin and child with two
the Crucifix with saints, in the centre of the room, has been stylistically attributed to
The eighteenth century chapel with an altar surmounted by The Holy Conversation attributed
to Giandomenico Ferretti, leads into the room dedicated to Taddeo di Bartolo.
Room III- A splendid gilded polyptych painted and signed by Taddeo di Bartolo in 1411
the Madonna and child with saints Anthony Abbot, John the Baptist and Francis of Assisi.
This noteworthy work of art painted at the height of artistic maturity still contains the
predella that tells the story of the saints depicted in the polyptych.
Room IV, a wood panel depicting the Madonna and child with saints Catherine and Lucia
by the Pisan artist Jacopo di Michele known as Il Gera; a polyptych by the Florentine
artist Cenni di Ser Cenni and a PietÓ by the Volterran artist Francesco di Neri a
splendid example of Volterran painting between the 14th and early 15th centuries.
Room V-A polyptych by Alvaro Pirez of the Virgin and child with saints Nicholas, John the
Christopher and Michael; two wooden sculptures of the Annunciation by the Sienese artist
Francesco di Domenico Valdambrino datable to the first decade of the 15th century and a
small Crucifixion with mourners by a 15th century Florentine artist.
Room VI - a collection painted in the second half of the 15th century although in an
The Madonna with the long neck by Stefano di Antonio Vanni; San Bernardino by Priamo della
Quercia and two other paintings.
Room III: Taddeo di Bartolo
Room VII - a wood panel of Saint Sebastian with
saints Nicholas and Bartholomew by the Florentine painter Neri di Bicci and a Christ in
PietÓ by Pier Francesco Fiorentino,
Room VIII -a wood panel of the Nativity and a predella relating the story of Mary by the
Sienese artist Benvenuto di Giovanni (1478) and a terracotta Christ in PietÓ, the emblem
of Monte Pio. The Room IX - a magnificent wood panel of Christ in Glory by Domenico
Ghirlandaio, commissioned by Lorenzo deMedici for the Abbey in San Giusto, an
eloquent example of the Florentine artists narrative skill and talent in finely
portraying the life and society of his time; a wood panel attributed to Maestro di Santo
Spirito and a panel by Leonardo di Pistoia a copy of Raphaels Madonna of the
Room X - two wood panels by Luca Signorelli, A Madonna and child with saints , and the
Annunciation in which the sweeping movement of the angels drapery and the Madonna
poised to take her leave are framed by the portico and the perspective of the Rennaissance
architecture in the foreground.
The wood panel of the Deposition ,signed and dated 1521 by Rosso Fiorentino is a
masterpiece of the Tuscan Mannerist painter. The composition is dictated by the actual
form of the pala. From the figure of Christ being unnailed from the cross the attention is
drawn to the mourners and in particular to Mary Magdalen in the process of throwing
herself at Marys feet while the desperate figure of St. John clutching his head
turns away from the scene.
On the second floor there is the so-called Mannerist room with two noteworthy
paintings by Pier de Witte, the Nativity and the Lamentation a splendid painting with a
scenic landscape in the foreground , an exqusite Mary Magdelan recalling the PietÓ of Fra
Bartolomeo di Pitti and Christs dangling arm similar to that of Michael
Angelos PietÓ in Santo Spirito.
The Birth of the Virgin Mary by Donato Mascagni with obvious influences from his master
Jacopo Ligozzi, an evocative scene delicately lit by the high windows.
An historically interesting collection incuding fragments by G.Bugiardini, medallions by
the Tosini- Brina school and some works from the German and Flemish schools.
And finally, a master piece by the Volterran artist Baldassare Franceshini, the Madonna
and child with saints .
Before leaving the palazzo do visit the top floor gallery offering a panoramic view of the
Roman Theatre and the surrounding landscape