You cannot talk about Volterra without mentioning Alabaster, an artistic handicraft that boasts a centuries-old history and a nobility of traditions that can be felt in every nook and corner of the town.
It is a calcareous substance mined in the surrounding area that has been widely used for millennia since the Etruscan craftsmen carved it to obtain urns to keep the ashes of their dead. Many of these cinerary urns are now exhibited in the Guarnacci Museum where the visitor can appreciate all the exquisite workmanship of the bas-reliefs.
At the end of the 18th century, after a long period during which the craft of alabaster had virtually died out, Volterra saw a new Renaissance, and workshops sprang up with a high quality production that reached every part of the world, thanks to the resourcefulness of the so-called "Alabaster travellers".
The secrets of the manufacture of this warm and luminous stone have been handed down for ages from generation to generation, and still represent one of the highest peaks of the italian artistic handicraft.
In the characteristic workshops of the historic centre, where everything is covered with white dust, or in the many displays all around Volterra, the visitor will find great or small masterpieces to satisfy any taste.