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Volterra's well-preserved medieval ramparts give the windswept town a proud, forbidding air that author Stephenie Meyer deemed ideal for the discriminating tastes of the planet's principal vampire coven in her wildly popular Twilight series. Fortunately, the reality is considerably more welcoming, as a wander through the winding cobbled streets dotted with Roman, Etruscan and medieval structures attests. Known for its artisanal heritage – alabaster carving in particular – the town is a particularly satisfying stop for those seeking to stock up on Tuscan art and handicrafts.

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