Niamh’s sister had friends who said that if they had the resources, they’d buy a place in Massa Marittima, and so her interest was piqued. Happily, this town is also one of my and Niamh’s favourites: it’s main square is beautiful, and is worth checking out if you happen to be in the Maremma. You can climb to the top of a steep street, and then at the top, find a tower, pay a small price and climb to the top of that too for some exquisite views. We didn’t do that this time around, as we left it a little late in the day to start the trip.
And therein lies one of the problems: the drive. It is about 80 minutes or so from Volterra, and about a third of it is through forested hills, which sounds lovely, but in actuality is a little dull. Having said that, there are some interesting towns that you drive through first (the outskirts of Pomerance, Monetcerboli and Castelnuovo Val di Cecina). Along the way, you’ll drive through part of Tuscany’s geothermal area, with which energy is derived. Strung throughout this part of the drive are space-age silver pipes, which somehow contrast amazingly well with the more natural views.
We got there shortly before lunch, and had a potter about the main shopping drags and the square. I took some snaps along the way.
It was a relatively walkabout, as we were hungry! We asked Niamh’s sister’s friend for a recommendation for a place to eat. They said they were only there a couple of times, and sat outside and ate at Cafe Le Logge. The ladies shared classical bruschette, whereas I had blended chicken liver on crostini.
They tasted nice enough. It was followed by pasta. Niamh had ravioli alla Maremma (essentially ravioli slathered in a meat ragù. She enjoyed it. I think I had carbonana, and sis-in-law a tuna salad. The food was adequate. I did really enjoy the gelato I had after, though. It was in the mid-30’s there… a hot one!
Afterwards the ladies did some shopping. We spotted some nice art that Niamh’s sister wanted to take home. The young man at the front of the shop took her number and said he’d call to let her know how much it would be to ship it back to Ireland. (The call never came, by the way – but she found something else in Volterra she took home herself another day). Niamh bought a pretty glass carafe, with a really narrow spout that we would use to dispense olive oil.
We had another short wander around, visiting the penis tree fresco (yes, you read that right), and the Pisan-Romanesque cathedral.
We were heated sufficiently to consider retreating back to the apartment in Volterra, and so took off. I took a few shots of outside the town walls before we left.
In the wooded part of the drive home, we were pulled over by the police – for the second time this trip. I didn’t mention it the first time (when we were leaving Siena), as it was my hundreth blog and I remember my anxiety spiking at the time. The first time, the cop took a couple of our passports and licenses back to the car, and spent 15 minutes with them, before finally handing them back and letting us go.
This time, they pulled us over, but let us go after a minute without further interaction. We assume that was because the Sienese police had already checked us out a couple of days previously. These were our first encounters with Italian road police, and I had no idea why it was happening… whether it was purely random, or they were running a specific operation. Anyone, no harm done.
So that was our trip to Massa Marittima. I captured a bit of it on video, which you can see here.
We spent some time cooling off (as best as you can in a space with no air-conditioning) back at the apartment, and then had a simple dinner of cold-cuts and salad back on the terrace.
I went out myself after to check out the town at night, and to take snaps. This culminated in passing by La Sosta del Priore, and chatting to Ilenia (the owner) about the new seating area and the new purchaseable stock she has on the shelves there. I was hoping to buy some stuff from her to take back to Ireland, but I was under the mistaken impression that my brother would be coming over having purchased additional large baggage – sadly, he didn’t. I’d forgotten he had to change flight carrier. Maybe some other time.
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