Hidden treasures

Volterra stone of Gods

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alabastro_Volterra

Volterra stone of Gods

Volterra is often referred to as a ‘gem of stone’. In fact, everything is built with this material: roads, buildings and towers. Wandering through the streets of this charming town, it will not be difficult for you to discover that this stone is also widely present in many shops. But it is not just any stone, this is instead the stone of the Gods, commonly known as alabaster.

This stone formed six to seven million years ago following the sedimentation and deposition of calcium sulfate contained in marine waters. The characteristics of alabaster make it really unique: its color, which resembles that of the moon, combined with its softness make it suitable for many processes. The first to work it were the Etruscans who used it mainly for sarcophagi and for cinerary urns. Perhaps it is precisely for this reason that it eventually came to be talked about as the stones of the Gods.

The period in which the working of alabaster became widespread was around 1830: at that time there were even sixty workshops and ‘travelers’ travelled almost all over the world to sell the products of the artisans. Although it is softer than marble, skilled and expert hands are nonetheless required, so much so that every craftsman has his own particular characteristic: ‘squadratori’ are specialized in the production of square pieces, ‘tornitori’ make circular or spherical objects, ‘ornatisti’, masters of the bas-relief or high-relief engraving of the object, are sculptors who work off the drawings and, finally, finishers who give the piece the aesthetic details that distinguish it. If you happen to go to Volterra, look inside the shops and you will certainly see some masters at work.

In many of Tuscany’s villages the craft shops are still working: an ancient world absolutely to be promoted, discovered and experienced! With our tours of the  Tuscan Villages you will be captured by this production art of bygone days and go shopping in the artisan shops of the most beautiful towns.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

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