Volterra and its Museums

1 The Etruscan Museum Guarnacci
The Museum Guarnacci is one of the oldest public museums in Europe. The museum was opened in 1761 thanks to the donation to the town of Volterra of the archaeological heritage of the noble Abbot Mario Guarnacci. The donation included also a books collection of over 50,000 volumes.
At the beginning the museum was located in the Palazzo Maffei (nowadays in Via Matteotti), but when Abbot Guarnacci died, it was moved to the Palazzo dei Priori, where it remained until 1877 when it was transferred in the Palazzo Desideri Tangassi, where it is now.
It is also possible to visit the museum following a chronological path that leads the visitor to discover the history of the city of Volterra since ancient times when its name was the Etruscan Velathri.

2 The Pinacoteca and the Museo Civico
The Pinacpteca (Picture Gallery) is located in Palazzo Minucci Solaini, in Via dei Sarti. This building, as well as being famous for what it contains, is of particular value for its architecture both outside in the structure and inside in the decorations adorning the interior of the building.
Since 1982 in the building thare are the Galleria Comunale Pictorial works coming from different places and the works once collected in the chapel of San Carlo adjoining the Cathedral.
When the art works have been moved into the new building, they have been rearranged and organized so to enable visitors t appreciate them.

3 The Museo di Arte Sacra

The Museum of Sacred Art is located in some rooms of the Parsonage, now the bishop’s palace with the entrance in Via Roma, next to the fifteenth century bell tower.
This museum was opened in late 1932 by Canon Maurizio Cavallini. The museum was damaged during the Second World War and has undergone several restorationst, the last of which dates from the early 90s.
The works of major importance contained in the museum are the marble sculpture caming from the old cathedral built around the year 1300.
The museum is full of paintings, wood carvings, tapestries and more valuable works.

4 The Biblioteca Guarnacci

The Guarnacci Library is one of the most important historical libraries in Tuscany. The library was part of the donation that the abbot Guarnacci gave to the city of Volterra in 1786 and since then the library has steadily increased the books numbers thabks to purchases or donations so to house nowadays about 50,000 volumes.
These include 514 manuscripts, 273 incunabula and over 1,000 cinquecentine.
It is very interesting the section collecting documents on the city of Volterra and its territory.

5 The Archivio Storico Comunale

The historical local Archive is like a large fresco, made of thousands of documents offering the image of a territory and of its transformations over the centuries.
There are about 16,000 pieces of strings and files documenting the local history from the twelfth to the nineteenth century.
The archive is sorted by the nature of the acts.

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