Villa Palagione (17th century) and the surrounding area of Monte Voltraio were the property of the noble Volterra Minucci family, who for centuries were responsible for the political and economic interests of the Grand Dukes of Tuscany in this area. It was the summer residence and hunting lodge of noble families and used for agricultural production. The Villa was then “modernised” until, between the 18th and 19th centuries, it acquired its present appearance, retaining beautiful frescoed rooms and today housing an Intercultural Centre.
Situated on the top of the high and impervious hill in front of Palagione, the ancient castle of Monte Voltraio, whose name probably derives from vulture, dominates one of the most typical landscapes of the Volterra area. Built to control important communication routes, the first records date back to 967 thanks to the visit of Emperor Otto I of Saxony. Residence of the bishops of Volterra, it later became the object of a conflict with the young city-republic, which in 1218 led to a war in which the municipal troops attacked the fortress.
The summit fortress, abandoned since 1433, as well as the parish church of San Giovanni at its foot, appear today tseriously damaged.