Alabastro di Volterra


If you have ever been to Volterra, this charming town on a hill in Tuscany, with its narrow and winding streets, then you certainly know the countless shops offering sculptures, vases, and many other decorative items made from alabaster.

The top quality alabaster is almost snow white with delicate veins and actually originates from Castellina Marittime, which is about 25km west of Volterra.

Alabaster is a very soft stone, which greatly constrains its purposeful use in architecture, however, it is an ideal stone for sculpting: relatively easy to work with, yet at the same time only true masters achieve perfect results.

Even the Etruscans back in the 8th century BC were fond of alabaster, using it for many ornamental ideas. Interestingly, the art of sculpting alabaster practically vanished during the Middle Ages, and has only been revived in the 17th and 18th centuries. Since then, this art has traditionally been passed down from one generation to the next, and everybody visiting Volterra should at least call one item made of this beautiful stone their own.