It is a curious case in Tuscany, but not the only one. Volterra has two adjoining squares. They host the main town buildings, one representing the worship and the other the power: that is, the Cathedral and Palazzo dei Priori, which are even side by side! We enter into details for those who do not know well Volterra and its unique charm, adding that, in the first square – Piazza San Giovanni – besides the cathedral there are also the Baptistery and the ancient Palazzo dei Vescovi. On the contrary, in the second one – Piazza dei Priori – the homonymous Palace dominates and is the heart of the square, while around there are the oldest buildings of Volterra, among which Palazzo Incontri and Palazzo Monte Pio, and the Praetorian Palace in front of it. It is difficult to say which square is more beautiful; they both have their own charm.
History and evocative power could make one lean towards Piazza dei Priori with its ancient grey and town walls, reminding the millenary history, the Etruscan memory of this lucomonia (jurisdiction of the lucomone, Etruscan judge). On the other hand, Piazza San Giovanni has a different history, related to the strong Diocese of Volterra. Under the current cathedral there were for sure, in the very old times, two churches placed on different ground levels.
Rich of events is also Palazzo Vescovile, already “house of barns”, because it was an old storehouse; from mid 1400 it has become the Episcopal seat. So much millenary history, so many lives of renowned personalities have passed through these squares. And still today, in the third millennium, stopping has a charm with no equal – especially at dawn or at dusk, when the silence dominates.
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