Museo Etrusco Guarnacci

Top choice in Volterra

The vast collection of artefacts exhibited here makes this one of Italy's most impressive Etruscan collections. Found locally, they include some 600 funerary urns carved mainly from alabaster and tufa – perhaps the pick is the Urna degli sposi (Urn of the Spouses), a strikingly realistic terracotta rendering of an elderly couple. The finds are displayed according to subject and era; the best examples (those dating from later periods) are on the 2nd and 3rd floors.

Make sure you track down the crested helmet excavated from the Tomba del Guerruccia at nearby Poggio alle Croci; and the L'Ombra della sera (Shadow of the Evening), an elongated bronze nude figurine that bears a striking resemblance to the work of the Swiss sculptor Alberto Giacometti.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Volterra attractions

1. Museo Diocesano d'Arte Sacra Volterra

0.05 MILES

Offering an innovative and particularly satisfying museum experience, this collection of sacred art is housed in the still-functioning Chiesa di San…

2. Fortezza Medicea

0.06 MILES

The 14th-century Fortezza Medicea, later altered by Lorenzo Il Magnifico, is nowadays a prison (admission: one felony), but the 'Nuova Fortezza' within…

3. Palazzo Pretorio

0.24 MILES

Forming one side of Volterra's central square, the Palazzo Pretorio was the seat of the local mayor. From it sprouts one of the town's oldest towers, the…

4. Palazzo dei Priori

0.25 MILES

Volterra's 13th-century town hall is the oldest seat of local government in Tuscany. The staircase bears a fresco of the Crucifixion by Pier Francesco…

5. Pinacoteca Comunale

0.28 MILES

Local, Sienese and Florentine art holds sway in this modest collection in the Palazzo Minucci Solaini. Taddeo di Bartolo's Madonna Enthroned with Child …

6. Ecomuseo dell'Alabastro

0.28 MILES

As befits a town that's hewn the precious material from nearby quarries since Etruscan times, Volterra is the proud possessor of an alabaster museum. It's…

7. Cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta

0.28 MILES

A handsome coffered ceiling is the standout feature of Volterra's duomo, which was built in the 12th and 13th centuries and remodelled in the 16th. The…

8. Teatro Romano

0.29 MILES

The grassy ranks of seating and towering columns of Italy's finest and best-preserved Roman theatre makes this a particularly evocative archaeological…