Skip to content
Roman theatre of Volterra
Photo © Spiterman
Photo © Spiterman

Roman Theatre and Etruscan Acropolis of Volterra

Archaeological sites

A journey through the wonders of Velathri's ancient history

The Roman Theatre of Volterra is located in the Vallebuona archaeological area, near the medieval walls. Its construction was financed by the Caecina family, as evidenced by the epigraph preserved at the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum in Volterra.

Excavations that began from 1950 under the guidance of Enrico Fiumi dated the construction of the theatre to around the end of the 1st century BC, and brought to light part of the original stairways that were built using the natural slope in a style similar to that of Greek theatres. It's currently possible to observe 19 rows of seats in the central and lower sectors. Due to its size, the entire theatre must have held around 3,500 spectators.

The semicircular orchestra was originally covered with marble. The pulpitum and part of the frons scenae, of which we can see the two-storey colonnaded structure, have been preserved. Some traces testify to the original presence of a velarium, a cloth supported by ropes that was used to cover the theatre.

The Roman Theatre of Volterra was abandoned at the end of the third century AD, and thermal baths were inserted.

Roman Theatre, Volterra
Roman Theatre, Volterra - Credit: Alessandro Farese

The perimeter of the theatre is included within a larger archaeological area overlaid on the structures from the Etruscan, Roman and medieval ages. At the highest point is the Etruscan Acropolis of Piano di Castello, where the remains of a temple complex were found that was probably frequented from the 7th century BC to the 3rd century AD. Today, only two structures dating back to the Hellenistic age are visible, one of which has a rectangular plan and the other included the podium and the colonnade.

Next to the acropolis, the archaeological area preserves a system of cisterns built around the first century AD that were used for storing water. The largest of these is the Roman Cistern, called the piscina (pool), which served as a deposit for rainwater and for the water supply of the city districts.

Today, the archaeological area hosts events such as the Volterra Roman Theatre International Festival.