Round out your tour by exploring two of Volterra’s small but scene-stealing surrounding towns: Montecatini Val di Cecina and Montegemoli, both within an easy drive.
The former is famous for its long history of copper mining, which dates back to its early days as an Etruscan settlement. Its Caporciano mine, located about 1 kilometer outside the center of Montecatini Val di Cecina, grew into Europe’s largest mine by the 1800s, before its closure at the turn of the century. The copper-curious can still stop by, as the space has been converted into a museum. Not to be missed is the Alfredo shaft, a key piece of the mining process which reached a depth of 315 meters.
If your interests are more artistic and architectural, stop by the main church of Montecatini Val di Cecina, dedicated to Saint Biagio and built in the 14th century. Curiosities inside include traces of 15th century frescoes painted by an unknown Sienese hand, as well as two terracotta sculptures attributed to the Della Robbia brothers. Local legend says that the Madonna statue opposite the entrance was found in a field below the nearby Camporciano hill.
The tiny Montegemoli, a fraction of Pomarance, is a fun stop for food history fans, as it’s best known for being home to pane di Montegemoli, a famed type of Tuscan bread baked in a wood-fired oven. But its intrigue mostly lies in its neatly preserved medieval character, right down to the former defensive tower of the old castle.