Volterra becomes one
of the twelve Lucumos of the Etruscan nation in the second half of the 3rd
B.C. and is later taken by the Romans becoming an important Municipium. At
rise of Christianity, Volterra is soon to follow
the new faith and at the fall of the Roman
Empire in 476 A.D. it is already the centre of
a vast diocese. After the Barbaric domination and the Bishops' rule, the free
"commune" is affirmed and from the first half of
the 12th century Volterra begins to formulate its own laws.
But this autonomy
is not to
last for lang. Freed from the rule of the
Bishop-Count and the Belforti family (1361),
Volterra then has to fight against the
hegemonie politics of Florence. Open to
rebellion (1429), shrewd endurance, compromise and apparent friendship only
to delay the ultimate defeat which comes
about in 1472 over the issue of the alum
quarries within the Volterran territory.
Volterra is not yet touched by the stress of
contemporary life and visitors who come to
Volterra have the immediate impression of
stepping into the past, of being in a particular place with its narrow Medieval
and the enigma of its Etruscan origins.