The Roman Theatre

The construction of the theatre began at the beginning of the 1st century B.C. when the wealthy Caecina family rendered homage to the reconciliation with Imperialism by dedicating the monument to Augustus.

The Roman theatre

Just below the medieval wall there is a large terrace with three arched niches and two stairways which served as the entrance to the annular shaped criptoporticus over which the highest part of the cavea spread.
The cavea served as a seating area for the audience. Nineteen rows of the central and lower cavea are still visible. The itenera scalaria ,the steps leading to the seats are in Montecatini stone, the same used to sculpture the heads adorning the Etruscan gate.
At the foot of the cavea lies the semicircular orchestra originally veneered in marble.
The two corridors paradoi led onto the stage where the actors performed. The scaenae frons was elaborately adorned with two tiers of Carrara marble columns with Corinthian capitals.
Three doors opened onto the stage from the wings which served as a changing area(the one on the left is still visible) . The curtain was rolled up from below in an ingenious telescopic manner and was contained in the narrow canal just in front of the wooden stage.
Behind the theatre are the Roman Baths built in the 4th century A.D.when the theatre had probably been abandoned.
The vestibule, the cold frigidarium and hot baths tepidarium and calidarium are still visible. In the far right hand corner is the laconicum or sudatorium, a circular room which served as a sauna.
Hot air was passed from the furnace ipocaustum into the raised terracotta flooring remnents of which are still visible in the sauna.
During the Medieval period the area was used as a rubbish tip hence the Roman theatre and
baths were completely buried until excavations began in 1951 by the Volterran archeologist Enrico Fiumi .

The Roman Theatre,

The Roman theatre
scenae frons
The Roman Theatre,
itinera scalaria


The Acropolis

The Etruscan acropolis is situated at the heighest point of Volterra 552 metres above sea level offering a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding countryside including the sea and the Appennines.
The acropolis, situated in the beautiful surroundings of a landscaped park named after the Volterran archeologist Enrico Fiumi, is a very interesting archeological site showing evidence of the superimposed layers of the history of the city.
As this part of the city was destroyed in 1472 by the Florentines the site not only encloses the foundations of two Etruscan temples , identified as temples A and B, but the road which delimited the sacred area, the vestiges of dwellings dating back to the Hellenistic period, a complex system of cisterns one of which is known as the Piscina and the ruins of medieval towers and roads .

The Etruscan burial Sites

The Etruscan tombs here in Volterra are relatively simple as compared to the tombs in Tarquinia, Cerveteri, Chiusi and Populonia, rich in paintings and sculptures.
Many of the tombs were carved into the sandstone below ground level and are often referred to by the locals as “Etruscan holes”.
The two tombs dating to the Hellenistic period, possibly belonging to the Gens Calcina, in the area of Marmini di Sotto are particularly interesting. One is a circular tomb held by a central pillar the other has a square central chamber leading into four smaller chambers. Each chamber contains a low wall where the cinerary urns were placed . A 5th century B.C. tomb is situated close to the church of San Giusto, composed of a few chambers excavated in the ground and sustained by pilasters carved in the rock.
Other tombs are to be found in the area of Ulimeto enclosed within the hospital complex at S.Lazzero while the Ripaie burial site has been covered over by a relatively new sports ground and the Badia burial site was engulfed by the landslip known as Le Balze.

Lid of a cinerary urn,  II century b.C.

The Guarnacci Roman Baths

The Roman Baths just beyond the Porta San Felice are named after Monsignor Mario Guarnacci who uncovered them in 1760. Epigraphic documents attest that the baths were dedicated to Emperor Giordian III and are thus datable to the III century A.D.
The remains of the furnace (ipocaustum), two cold baths (frigidarium), a warm bath (tepidarium), the hot bath(calidarium) above the ipocaustum and the sauna (sudatorium) are still visible.
This site is presently being restored