Lounging ’til half past noon, we then went out to Quo Vadis (the Irish bar) for a bit of lunch. Niamh had a Milanese escalope with fries, and I had peposa (black pepper beef) and a side of beans. Niamh’s was lovely… mine was ok… I was expecting the stew to be a little richer. I think the strategy going forward will be to only try stews in places with much smaller (or daily) menus. The Guinnness was nice, though!
After lunch, on the way to the cathedral, we stopped off at a little courtyard we hadn’t been to before.
The cathedral itself (as I’ve said in other blogs) is newly re-opened and very humble looking on the outside, especially when compared to cathedrals in Pisa, Lucca, Siena and Florence. The inside is pristine, and houses some amazing artwork. It’s dedicated to Santa Maria Assunta (edit: I had originally said Saint Linus, the second Pope, who was born in Volterra – my mistake!)
I hope to visit Palazzo dei Priori over the next couple of days – the two of them were built back-to-back for historically political reasons – more to be revealed in that blog. The layered marble adorning the inside is, in fact, faux – it’s been painted – but still looks fab. The layered marble in sections on the outside is the real deal – and designates that the building is religious in nature (in the Pisan-Romanesque style).
I stopped off for a lovely caffé milkshake on the way home, where I vegetated for the afternoon.
That evening, we went to La Terra di Mezzo for a fun time with the gang there, and to have some food, of course. It was a year to the day that Niamh and I turned up in Volterra for the second time, and Niamh’s shoulders were stiff from anxious driving, so the restaurant owner gave her a massage – and a worryingly good one it was too. He remembered that, and also that he refused to massage the glutes I said were also sore!
Anyway, we had a little amuse-bouche of pecorino with what I think was homemade chili jam – amazing! Niamh then had carbonara with smoked pancetta (or guanciale – I didn’t ask), in a herb sauce. I had tagliolini with white truffle. White is even rarer than black, is less aromatic and more delicately flavoured. It was the first time I’d had it, and the restaurant owner held a bag of them under my nose. Yum! The dish itself was nice – the truffle delicately flavoured; a bit woody. I think I prefer the black, though – their dish of papardelle with pancetta and black truffle in a lemon ricotta sauce is a much better plate – one of the best pastas in Volterra.
You may note the lack of photos – sorry! I was too caught up. We had dessert – Niamh a chocolate soufflé and I some apple strudel. We were given shots afterwards – limoncello for Niamh and grappa for me. The grappa, while strong, goes down smooth here. I was offered a second one, but got a shake of the head from Niamh.
Instead, we said our goodbyes and strolled a minute up to Antica Velathri Cafe for a cocktail each. I know I’ve said it before, but the dude is a good mixologist! Niamh had a bellini, complete with crushed peach, rather than just juice. I often ask him to invent something for me, giving him a base flavour. I asked him again to invent something with a coffee base. We were waiting for our cocktails as long as we were for our first courses, but it was worth it.
He came up with Niamh’s super-looking bellini, and something under a transparent cover. He had put together vermouth, gin and kahlua over ice, and smoked it with pine wood. Bananas! But it tasted of coffee, botanicals and woody smoke – I loved it. He only charged us €10 for both cocktails together, and we also bought a few small almond cookies baked in-house.
Today we hope to go out to visit a couple of towns. Hopefully more on that tomorrow!
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