The Bronze Symbol of Volterra


posted by on Cooking and Tasting, History & Culture

ombra della sera statue volterra

The Ombra della Sera statue in Volterra

The Tuscan town of Volterra is well-known for being one of the best places in the region to discover more about the Etruscans and their heritage. Attention has been drawn to this little town due to the many Etruscan artefacts that have been discovered in the area surrounding Volterra, which was formerly known as Velathin. The is one artefact in particular however, that has become somewhat of an emblem for the town. The artefact in question is the Ombra della Sera statue.The name ‘Ombra della Sera’ can be translated as ‘evening shadow’ in English. It is said to have been given this name by the famous Italian poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who, when he looked at the statue, was reminded of the long shadows created by the beams from a sunset. Made of bronze, the Ombra della Sera stands at around 57cm tall and weighs about 1.25kg. It is a model of a young boy with a small round face and an extremely elongated body. What is remarkable about this bronze figure, is not only the fact that it is undoubtedly the work of amazing skill and craftsmanship, but it is very, very old indeed.

It is said that it was sculpted around 2,300 years ago!
This bronze statue was crafted by an Etruscan artist and sculptor, and many say that it creates an almost supernatural effect, due to its intense detail and soft facial expression. During Etruscan times, bronze casters were well-known for their skills, and later, many Roman homes around Volterra were decorated with these types of statues and figures, which may have been used as a type of small god or spirit for the household. The Ombra della Sera in Volterra is one of the finest examples of Etruscan sculpture in the region.

The figure is believed to have been discovered in the mid-1700s, and later came into possession of Mario Guarnacci, who was an avid collector of antiques and artefacts. There is also a rather humorous story of its discovery too, which involved a French archaeologist. It is said that this archaeologist came across the figure as he was lodging with a farmer during a terrible storm. He realised that the slender figure was actually being used as a poker for the fire! Whatever its origin may have been, it is undoubtedly an incredibly valuable and truly impressive symbol of Etruscan history. So valuable in fact, that it is actually an authorised copy of the original that you can find in Volterra, not the original! Despite being a copy, it is still worth seeing, and by paying a visit to the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum in Volterra, which is full of wonderful Etruscan and Roman exhibits, you can see for yourself just how incredible it really is.

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