Now Volaterra, called by the Etruscans Velathri;
one of the twelve
cities of the Etruscan confederation, built on a lofty and precipitous hill, about 1800
English feet above the level of the sea. It was the most northerly city of the confederation,
and its dominions extended eastward as far as the territory of Arretium, which was fifty miles
distant; westward as far as the Mediterranean, which was more than twenty miles off; and
southward at least as far as Populonia, which was either a colony or an acquisition of
Volaterrae. In consequence of possessing the two great ports of Luna and Populonia,
Volaterrae, though so far inland, was reckoned as one of the powerful maritime cities of
Etruria. We have no record of its conquest by the Romans. Like most of the Etruscan cities, it
espoused the Marian party
Arch at Volaterrae.
against Sulla ; and it was not till after a siege of two years that the city fell
into Sulla 's hands. After the fall of the Western Empire, it was for a time the residence of
the Lombard kings. The modern town contains several interesting Etruscan remains.