Of all places, why Volterra?

A dream of ours was to buy a place in Italy, preferably Tuscany, as we had visited it a couple of times and loved the place, the food and found the people to be among the friendliest (and we’ve been to a bunch of places in Italy!).

But where to even look? Google maps is your best friend when looking for bases to camp, especially if, like us, you wanted to live near some amenities, rather than in a field, miles away from anywhere. I can see why people go for the latter, but it’s not for us.

So I grabbed my PC and took into consideration our requirements:

  • Not too far from the coast (preferably on it)
  • In an old town, with lots of charm and history
  • Near amenities
  • Must have outdoor space attached to the property
  • Our budget 😉

So, I started looking mostly in Liguria, Le Marche, Tuscany, Puglia and Abruzzo. I honestly spent a few months zooming in and out, looking for populated coastal areas that had as many of our requirements as possible. I learned two things pretty quickly:

  1. Most coastal towns in Italy do not have that medieval charm. This is because their coasts were raided frequently by pirates. Therefore, towns used to be built at least a little inland, preferebaly on hills, so the inhabitants could keep lookout for invaders.
  2. We couldn’t afford decent-looking properties in coastal towns anyway!

Inland it was, so. More zooming and street-view, looking for a town that covered as much as we needed and could afford. The plus side of all of this seeking was that I was building up a catalogue of towns I wanted to visit when I eventually settled! Towards the end, really due to the availability of air transport from Ireland, we were down to Liguria or Tuscany. We went for the latter, as we felt that there was a bit more variety of things to do and see there.

Then, I stumbled across a town atop a butte, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, with beautiful streets, tons of restaurants, not too far from the coast, with plenty of other amenities.

We travelled there to view a few properties, and fell in love with the place, and as luck would have it, found a property with a terrace – not an easy find in the main shopping area, slap-bang in the middle of an old, walled town.

I then took a look at my list of towns we could visit from Volterra, and found that it is ridiculously central to a ton of other places in Tuscany!

Car journey times from Volterra, up to around 90 minutes – toll roads allowed. Click to enlarge

We couldn’t believe our luck, and still can’t. We found the place in April 2018, and finally closed the deal in mid-December. We will soon be on sabbatical, and are really looking forward to spending 9 weeks here!

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