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The Tuscan village of Volterra sits high atop a hill looking like the heart of a powerful kingdom within a fairytale. In truth this majestic town dates back to the Iron Age, when it first developed as one of the most important Etruscan centers. By the 3rd century B.C. it was among Rome’s most densely populated cities. During the 16th century Volterra was part of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany.
While Fred and I wandered the shadowy lanes of Volterra, a creepy kind of chill came over me. Having explored the darkened walkways of many Italian villages, I couldn’t figure out what had brought on that feeling. When I gazed at the eerie Etruscan heads mounted on the town’s Porta all’ Arco, I knew exactly what triggered those spine-chilling shivers. Volterra is the home of the Volturi, an ancient ruthless royal family of vampires, within the pages of the bestselling Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. My daughter got me hooked on this young adult series. Generally, vampire stories hold no appeal for me, but this series is a modern fairytale with a metaphorical “shining knight in armor” who happens to be a gorgeous vampire deeply in love with a very real teenage girl, one women of all ages can strongly relate to and who in the end becomes the real hero.
When I captured this shot of Porta all’ Arco, the producers of the movie New Moon, based on the second book of the Twilight series, appeared committed to film in Volterra. For various reasons they switched the film location to the Tuscan village of Montepulciano, which was one of the film locations of a movie I love based on one of my favorite books, “Under the Tuscan Sun”. My experiences in Volterra and Montepulciano in relation to the above mentioned books, film locations, and movies inspired me to write a travel essay with fictional components that was recently published in Literary Traveler, an online publication.
In the Italian Shadow Play photo essay.
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