It’s on a hairpin bend as you drive west on the R 68 towards the outcrop of alum and alabaster upon which the town of Volterra sits. The photo was taken from a moving car – a hairpin bend is after all not a point on the road which invites you to get out and set up your tripod – and much to my surprise, it’s come out almost perfectly (the roof of another car on the other side of the bend being the chief blemish).
A little bit of search engineering tells me that it’s Anello (Ring) by local born sculptor Mauro Staccioli, and just one of a number of pieces placed in the landscape three years ago. It certainly beat seeing yet more of Anthony Gormley’s remorselessly advancing and rusting iron men in San Gimignano.
The landscape surrounding Volterra seems pale and a little eerie; Tuscan greens and golds blanched till they begin to resemble a moonscape in the white light of the afternoon sun. That only adds to my feeling that Volterra would make a great name for an alien planet and species. I imagine Volterrans being a flight of humans originally from earth, exiled millennia ago and evolving according to the terrain and the gaseous nature of the planet that they settled on. Now they are ready to take back what’s theirs from the evil genius’ metal zombie master race currently presiding over earth. We can only hope they are victorious.