Volterra’s Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro (Alabaster Ecomuseum) chronicles the Tuscan town’s centuries-long association with alabaster. The calcareous stone has been mined in the area for millennia and ancient artefacts reveal that the Etruscans used it to make urns to house the ashes of their dead as long ago as the 8th century BC.
Located in the medieval Minucci tower, the Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro is divided into three sections. One section tells the history of the translucent stone from its excavation to its commercial production. Another part is devoted to the display of stunning alabaster pieces dating from the Etruscan era via the 18th century, when the local crafts industry was at its peak, to the present day. Items on show include bowls, urns, medallions, religious artworks, candleholders, lamps, vases and Neoclassical sculptures. Another area houses the tools used to create such fine pieces in workshops and explains the techniques employed to make them.
The Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro is open daily from 9am until 1.30pm. Admission costs €8.
Where: Ecomuseo dell’Alabastro, Via dei Sarti, Palazzo Minucci Solaini , 56048 Volterra, Tuscany