||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
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 distinctive feature of this unspoilt countryside and scenic landscape are the gently
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
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.