Traces of the ancient Etruscans - from Vada Volterrana to Volterra
The village of Vada was once known as Vada Volterrana (or Volaterrana)In Etruscan-Roman times wit was the Port of Volterra. The name probably comes from the term "vadum" which means “landing” and recalls this function. Recent archaeological studies have revealed the presence of several buildings and finds of the Etruscan era in the area of Vada called San Gaetano.
Vada Volaterrana, mentioned by numerous ancient sources, constituted the extensive port system of Volterra in the Etruscan and Roman ages; it extended from the Cecina River to the Fine River. Since 1982, a rear-port district of this system is being excavated in San Gaetano di Vada (Director of the excavations M.Pasquincci, since 2012 S. Menchelli).
In the archaeological area of San Gaetano, the most important of the Tyrrhenian coast between Luni and Populonia, numerous buildings have been discovered: a horrea equipped with a small thermal system, a schola attributable to the college of Dendrophori, public baths, sacred, production, artisanal, and recreational structures, tabernae with bread ovens.
The district was built at the beginning of the 1st century A.D., and over the centuries it underwent numerous renovations and restructurings; it remained active, and always inserted in the Mediterranean routes, until the first decades of the seventh century A.D. topographic surveys carried out in the territory have highlighted that the port centre was inserted in the densely populated region, divided into farms and manufacturing centres, dating from the late-Republican to the late-ancient age.'The settlement, also mentioned by Cicero and Pliny, was built on the Old Aurelia Road. The central square of the town has a mileage stone marking the 287th kilometre from the Capitol of Rome.
source: Laboratory of Ancient Topography and Underwater Archaeology University of Pisa, Department of Civilizations and Forms of Knowledge
When Rutilius Claudius Namatianus visited Vada in 417 A.D., he documented the presence of full functioning salt works. The salt works continued production during the middle ages, as mentioned in several archive documents.
Cecina Valley extends along the course of the Cecina river in the southern part of the province of Pisa until it reaches some territories of the provinces of Siena and Grosseto, and goes for a short stretch in the central portion of the province of Livorno near the mouth and the end of the River.
The territory is mainly hilly throughout the hinterland and flat only near the mouth of the River. From the landscape point of view, the steep gullies, known as the Balze di Volterra, which can be found near the town with the same name, are very suggestive; the area is rich in both geothermal sources that manifest themselves in the form of geysers in the area around the town of Larderello, and wind farms for energy production (especially in the municipalities of Riparbella, Chianni, Montecatini Val di Cecina and Santa Luce ).
Non era ancor di là Nesso arrivato, quando noi ci mettemmo per un boscoThe Cecina Valley area covers the municipalities of Castellina Marittima, Riparbella, Casale Marittimo, Guardistallo, Montescudaio, Montecatini Val di Cecina, Volterra, Pomarance, Castelnuovo di Val di Cecina and Monteverdi Marittimo in the Pisan hinterland, some portions of the municipalities of Radicondoli and Casole d'Elsa in the province of Siena, the municipality of Cecina along the Livorno coast, the municipality of Bibbona and the Vada fraction of the Municipality of Rosignano Marittimo. Adding up the population of the municipalities that compose it, the Cecina Valley has about 72,000 inhabitants.
che da neun sentiero era segnato.
Non fronda verde, ma di color fosco; non rami schietti, ma nodosi e 'nvolti;
non pomi v'eran, ma stecchi con tòsco.
Non han sì aspri sterpi né sì folti quelle fiere selvagge che 'n odio hanno
tra Cecina e Corneto i luoghi cólti...
(Dante Alighieri, Divina Commedia - Inferno, Canto XIII)
The Cecina Valley area that extends along the first hilly offshoots that slope towards the Maremma of Livorno and the central part of the Etruscan Coast is also called Maremma Pisana and interests the municipalities of Castellina Marittima, Riparbella.
The 'Cecina' hydronym and toponym are of Etruscan origin and is connected to the surname of a powerful Etruscan gens originally from Volterra, the Kaikna (or Cecina), known in Roman times as Caecina and variously attested throughout the Cecina Valley. The in-na termination of the toponym and hydronym Cecina would demonstrate the derivation from the name of the gens with the same name and not vice versa, since-na would "express the dependence and subordination of the place to the gens who would have exercised its power".
VolterraVeláthri (the Etruscan name of Volterra), was part of the Etruscan Confederation, called the Etruscan dodecapoli or lucumonie. The king (and high priest) was called luchmon (lucumone). The name of the Etruscan city is legible in the series of coins kept at the Guarnacci Museum. In Latin, the town assumed the title of Volaterrae, from which the Greek ο οολατέρραι Ouolatérrai and the current Italian name are derived.
The city, famous for the extraction and processing of Alabaster, was one of the prominent city-states of ancient Tuscany (Etruria); during the middle ages, it was the seat of an essential Episcopal Lordship with jurisdiction over a large part of the Tuscan hills. Today, it conserves a great historical centre of Etruscan origin (of this era remains the beautifully preserved Porta all'Arco; the Porta Diana, which still has the original jamb blocks; most of the walls, built with local stone cyclopean blocks; the Acropolis, where there are the foundations of two temples, various buildings and a few cisterns; numerous tombs used for the burial of the dead), with Roman ruins (including the hemicycle Theatre) and medieval buildings such as the Cathedral, the Medici Fortress and Palazzo dei Priori on the square, the heart of the town.
Source: Wikipedia - https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volterra