Etruscan, Roman and Medieval Archeology

Over 3000 years of history under the transparent floor

Albergo Diffuso Volterra rises on one of the most important archaeological finds in the center of Volterra. The discovery dates back to 2001, the year in which the family that owned the premises for many generations, began the renovation work. A long campaign of excavations has brought to light important archaeological remains. The subsequent installation of a transparent crystal floor allows today to see these incredible findings. Inside you can see an Etruscan city wall, a part of the main Via Etrusca entrance to the city, an Etruscan well 7 meters deep, a Roman road and a medieval pavement.

Etruscan Muraria

At the entrance of the Hall there is an imposing boundary wall that crosses the room, made up of large stones. These stones delimited the right side of the ancient main entrance to the Etruscan city, the original Via Porta all’Arco. The stones form a wall about 1.5 meters high. At the bottom it is possible to see the ancient road where the Etruscan people walked about 3000 years ago. In medieval times, over 1000 years after the Etruscan civilization, the ancient road was used to rest the foundations of the construction of the present building. On the right the wall is interrupted with the original entrance of the medieval house.

Etrusca Via Porta all'Arco

Etruscan Well

In the center of the Hall, an extraordinary well of spring water opens up, also dating back to the Etruscan civilization. It is a work of perfect architecture. In the highest part it has an imposing excavation in the perfectly circular stone about a meter deep which opens to a second excavation about 6 meters deep. The shape widens progressively until it reaches a diameter of 2 meters. In the deepest part there are visible inlets on the sides, real “water capture tunnels”. Even today, almost every year, water appears in the well. It comes from the creeks, sometimes even with a lot of pressure. We’ve saw that the arrival of water in the well usually occurs in less rainy periods.

Pozzo Etrusco

Roman Street

On the left side of the Hall you can see large stones placed horizontally that outline a pavement. It is an ancient Roman road coming from the highest part of the city that ended at the Etruscan well. During the archaeological excavations in this part of the floor considerable quantities of Roman coins have been found. Archaeologists have therefore advanced the possibility that in Roman times the area surrounding the Etruscan well was a place of economic exchange. Theory is also confirmed by the large size of the road, which allowed the arrival of horses and carts.


Medieval Home

Along the right side of the Hall a part of the original pavement of the medieval house is visible. The entrance to the house is bordered by three large stones that form two right angles (which interrupts the Etruscan walls) and the floor formed by a brick paving that runs along the wall. The original floor surface is located just 50 centimeters deep from the current. Another medieval find is the superficial frame of the Etruscan well, also made of bricks. The rest of the medieval house is currently visible on the surface. The stone walls and vaulted ceilings, both cross and barrel, are in fact original buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.

Medieval Pavement