We have two guests with us for a short while, so we decided to take them to Lari. We had been there before, but the Martelli pasta factory tours were closed in August (when many Italians go on holiday). We wandered up to the carpark, only to see that they’d strung some brollies over Gramsci. Tonight is Volterra’s culture night (La Notte Rossa), where there are a ton of acts playing around the city, and many of the major attractions are open for free from 21:00 to 24:00. Why do they call it The Red Night? They light up the city with red lamps – like they do near Christmas. It will be a late night, but I’m looking forward to it. Below is a pic of one of our favourite restaurateurs, from La Terre di Mezzo – getting ready for the festivities.
We went to Lari by way of La Sterza, and Terriciola. Why Google Maps changed our route to take is through Terriciola, rather than go around it is a mystery. We were rewarded with a different set of sights this time around, as we were driven through village after village, past vineyards and olive groves. It was pretty cool… except maybe for the driver, who insisted we travel a different route going home! The roads were quite narrow in parts and can’t have been fun to navigate.
We parked near the old town, with about a 250m walk uphill to the archway which leads into the main area. It was a warm day, and the climb was understandably a little draining. There was an organised tour group ahead of us, but we only had to wait about 15 minutes for the next opening. This afforded us a mooch around the town for a bit, including a trip to a jewellers who could only give us a price for an 18-carat bracelet after he’d weighed it. I’d never seen that before! When the price was given, we excused ourselves and left.
A large group of people had gathered from Ireland (including a pair of people other than ourselves), Germany, the US, the Netherlands and Switzerland to go in. The tour was only about 15 minutes long, but you got to go into the areas where pasta (specifically spaghetti here – the rest of the pastas are made in the castle in the middle of the town) is dried and cut – and you were given a small sample of pre-cut pasta. Martelli pasta is cut with bronze dies, which give it a very rough texture. As the pasta is only made from durum wheat and water, there isn’t a flavour difference, but the sauce sticks beautifully to the pasta in the pan during the final stages of cooking.
The dude that came out to deliver the tour (in English) was dressed in video-game racial stereotype overalls, but he knew his stuff and was friendly. The main area was really warm… maybe 35-36 celsius, and I wondered how hot it could get in August-heat!
Afterwards, we had a lunch with Martelli pasta. We had done so before in the same restaurant, but the only new dish was the one I got – maccheroni with a tuscan ragu.
Our guests were a little tired, so we forewent trips to other towns, and headed home – capturing some lovely scenery on the way. We had an obligatory stop at the ‘O’ on the road just past Volterra, on the way to Siena.
Apologies… you can see reflections in some of the photos. On the way back to apartment, we grabbed some gelati, because we could! We pretty much stayed in for the rest of the day, except when I nipped out to grab a little shopping, and Niamh went out to get takeaway pizza for herself and the other ladies.
I’ve ceased being a fan of pizza at night (acid stomach), and instead got something even more trashy, but strangely nice for a change – a fishburger. The fish was flaky inside the rough crumb, so it wasn’t the worst thing at all – I might try the burger in the same place (Attutapizza) some other time.
Afterwards, we watched Wine Country on Netflix, which was mis-labelled as a comedy. Ah, I’m being unfair – it wasn’t a bad flick (although I left about 10 mins before the end). The Napa Valley looks a bit like Tuscany, so that was a plus – and the characters in it were amiable enough.
Anyhoo, this morning I got up earlier than usual, and compounded by the fact that it is later in the year, the town was a little darker than usual. I found a new part of the route (well… Niamh had gone that way before me), which made the walk a little more interesting. I also captured a wide shot of Volterra’s buildings I’d never been able to capture before. It almost looks like another town from that angle.
The guests are having a mooch about town today, so I will use some of this day to put a hole in my writing project. I hope to stay out much of the night to capture as much as I can on La Notte Rossa too, so I’m really looking forward to that!
We are bringing one of the guests to the airport tomorrow mid-morning, but I hope to have a blog up before we go tomorrow.