The village of Saline di Volterra
the most important part of the municipality of Volterra
Saline di Volterra, the most important village in the municipality of Volterra, owes its name to the conspicuous deposits of rock salt enclosed in its subsoil. But not only. Even its history, over the centuries, has always had to do with the extraction of salt.
This underground wealth is continuously exploited until the second half of the tenth century. The struggles that in the medieval age opposed the Municipality of Volterra and the Bishop to win the customs duties are indicative. It is documented that in 1100 it was the first center of the salt trade of Tuscany. When Volterra was conquered by the Florentines (1472) the remarkable natural resources of the territory were directed along the Volterra-Valdelsa-Florence road, the so-called “Via del sale”, one of the most important trade axes of the Grand Duchy.
In the second half of the eighteenth century the industrial exploitation of salt deposits was decided by grand-ducal will, which gave rise to the town of Saline. The establishment for the production of salt remains of this glorious past.
Passing in front of the austere building of the Saline di Stato square, where the Palazzo dell’Orologio stands out, built by the Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo in 1790 and the two towers added in the mid-1800s, continue along a dirt road and arrive in the area of the old moie. This name refers to an area where numerous natural salt water springs (moie from the Latin muria) flow from which the salt was extracted by evaporating the brine in special boilers. Tons of wood from the Berignone-Tatti nature forest were used to make them work.