The town in Val di Cecina results from a meeting of different historic periods. Volterra retains a considerable historic centre of Etruscan origin, with its Roman ruins and medieval buildings, the Cathedral and the Palazzo dei Priori, which are the nerve centre of the town. The surrounding area provides the desert "salt works" and the "towers" of the geothermic area of Larderello.
Volterra has been chosen by the writer Sthephenie Meyer as setting for her famous novel "New Moon". Several times the writer has stated to have been totally captured by the charming of this small but very mysterious city.