Art and stone, crafts and nature
Discover every detail on the manufacturing and nature of alabaster
A stone, alabaster, and a city, Volterra. Indissolubly tied to each other, people and environment have given birth and shine to the craftsmanship of the precious stone that has been a key element in the life of this part of Tuscany. The ecomuseum tells about and collects this story, celebrating the sculptures kept here and explaining in a simple way how from the raw material mined in a quarry some delicate artefacts can be obtained and how they have been the object of thriving trades.
A journey back in time, in the history of the precious stone and the community of Volterra: mining, craftsmanship, marketing – from the Etruscans to our days – outlined and set up in the medieval tower-house Minucci.
An ecomuseum, from a historical and naturalistic perspective, makes us trace back in time the history of mining, craftsmanship, celebration and trading of alabaster, starting from the Etruscan age to our days.
A long history of precious transparency
From the Etruscan period to the present day
The Alabaster Ecomuseum is an environmental museum that tells the story of an ancient craft specific to Volterra from the excavation of the stone to its production and commercialisation.
The “museum of commercial archaeology”, housed in the Minucci medieval house-tower documents the alabaster craft from the Etruscan era to the present day.
The exhibit illustrates the excavation of the stone, its qualities, the styles and models used by the sculptors, the trading of the artefacts and the story of the travelling artisans who disseminated the alabaster craft throughout the world and brought economic wealth to Volterra and the surrounding area.
Volterra treasures an inestimable collection of alabaster sculptures and the display in the Ecomuseum is only a small part of this heritage.
The visit to the Ecomuseum should, therefore, be joined by a visit to collections such as those of the Guarnacci museum which houses a rich display of the art of alabaster carving during the Etruscan era, and Palazzo Viti, an historical home which offers a splendid array of antique alabaster artefacts.
The museum in the Minucci house-tower offers a chronological view of the alabaster craft from the Etruscan era to the present day and is enriched by the visit to an old workshop which the Town of Volterra has recently acquired from the Pagni family that bears testimony to the cultural and social traditions of Volterra.