Tag: etruscans

A Saturday to Forget, a Sunday to Help Remember (03+04/09/2023)

A Saturday to Forget, a Sunday to Help Remember (03+04/09/2023)

Saturday, September 3rd

This weekend was a weird one and no mistake. I genuinely have next to no memory of what we did that day. I see the photos, but they are something of an abstract collection. I know we stayed in Volterra and had something to eat. That is the extent of my memory of that Saturday.

Here are some photos. Make of them what you will.

Sunday, September 4th

Ok, this day was more like it!

I got up and walked to the entrance of the abandoned psychiatric hospital. I didn’t take many photos because, by golly, I filmed the walk instead. It was actually shorter than I thought it would be.

So that was cool, but what would be cooler is if I finally somehow make it inside the grounds. The stairs pictured above I’m pretty sure lead there, but what isn’t pictured is a collapsed fence which might be only slightly tricky to climb over on the way up, but would be a total cow on the way back.

It is possible to arrange a tour at least to the inner grounds, but I simply haven’t done so yet. Some day, I swear!

Anyway, as handy as it was getting there, I would have to climb back…

After I’d tidied myself up and hung around ’til lunch time we went to La Sosta del Priore – they have a new website, with a shopping area! Congratulations, Ilenia!

You can’t go wrong here – the burger was so yum. Hard to imagine that soy mayonnaise would taste so good!

The Etruscan museum (aka the Guarnacci Museum) is one of the oldest museums in Europe, and also one of the most important Etruscan museums. It had been renovated recently, and I wanted to return to it to show my support. It’s lovelier than ever now, and besides having Etruscan artefacts, it also houses pre-historic and Roman era goodies.

There are still rather a lot of Etruscan sarcophagi/funerary urns, but it’s interesting to see how they progressed from actual urns, to mini-sarcophagi, and became more and more intricately carved.

I have been before, so I won’t expand any further on it, except to say that it is a must-visit and is one of the attractions covered by the Volterra visitors card. You can pick this card up at either of the tourist information offices in Piazza dei Priori. It allows you to visit a bundle of places at a discounted rate.

However, they did have a couple of new things: items from the new dig site of the Roman Amphitheatre and the a kick-ass attic room, which affords you some fab views from above much of the city.

But we didn’t stop there for the day, oh no!

The Astiludio is a medieval-style, flag waving/juggling competition held between cities. Volterra’s team are actually pretty dang good at it. We managed to grab some seats at a temporary set of bleachers and watch the opening ceremony as the teams marched into the square. There were a senior and junior categories. I don’t think Volterra won either category this time around, although it looked to us that the senior squad were the best on offer that day. Sure what do we know?

As you will see in the live-streamed videos below, the Volterran’s are really into it and are proud of their squad.

You’ll also see a special appearance by Geralt of Rivia. Hehe.

And there are a smattering of pics too.

Afterwards, we went for a little stroll and enjoyed aperitivi at Osteria dei Fornelli, the prime spot for enjoying the sunset in Volterra.

Of course, we had food there too, with me occasionally running out to grab some snaps of the slowly-descending sun.

Afterwards, we strolled through the night to our beds.

I hope you enjoyed the read, and watch! Let me know what you think!

Etruscan Tombs and Another Day in Volterra (08/08/2021)

Etruscan Tombs and Another Day in Volterra (08/08/2021)

This morning’s walk took me through the Porta alla Fiorentina, past the new archaeological dig for the recently discovered Roman amphiteatre, past the cemetary and out of the town limts to visit a couple of Etruscan tombs.

Here’s a video of my trip:

The walk back is the trickiest part, as it is all uphill for a few kilometers. I took the macro lens with me and took some shots on the way home.

The Cathedral in Volterra has started charging people to see inside both it and the baptistry. I’m not in love with that idea. It’s a place of worship, so it should be free in. I know that the Cathedral had undergone a few years’ of restoration work (we were there when it reopened in 2019 – you can see inside it here), but I hope this is just a temporary measure to ensure numbers are choked for Covid reasons.

Anyway, Niamh and her sister went to check it out, but were put off by the notion of paying in, and so decided to go to mass there instead today – for free! (Pro-tip!). While they were away, I stayed at home and worked on video editing (and ok, I admit it, gaming).

Afterwards, the ladies wanted wanted salad and cold-cuts for lunch, but I wasn’t into it that day. Instead, I went to La Carabaccia, and had some pasta with guinea fowl and a drop or two of their amazing red.

There are a team of a mother and her two daughters, who cook what’s fresh – (generally their pasta is alos homemade) generally limiting their menu to a selection of two primi and two secondi. All home cooked. Their food is wonderful.

Naturally, I had to cool down on the way home.

We stayed at home for the rest of the day, and then headed out to dine at Ristorante Etruria in Piazza dei Priori. It was packed, but we managed to get a seat outside. Now, I know sometimes this site could be accused of being a hagiography of Volterra, where nothing untowards is said… but I have to say I was a little put out by the restaurant that night.

I was the only person who ordered two courses, and they both arrived at the same time: a Zuppa alla Volterrana and a steak. The food tasted well, but our whole service just seemed very rushed. It’s rare that Italian restaurants want to turn over their tables, but this was the impression I got. A bit of a shame, as we’d had some good times there before.

In fairness, we had a good night there later on in the holiday, thanks to them allowing us to sit at a table post-meal, drinking beer so we could watch a concert in the Piazza. More on that another time, though.

Here’s my meat dish.

After that, I we had a wander around town.

I hope you enjoyed reading this. Please leave a comment if so.

August Strikes Again

August Strikes Again

We took things a little handier after yesterday‘s hectic day. When we were done hanging around the apartment, doing a little writing etc., we took ourselves downstairs and outside. We had to buy a pliers to tidy up a wire, currently suspending the net curtain over the door to our terrace. We grabbed one handily enough in the hardware store on Via dei Sarti, and had another little wander around some of the artsier stores on Via Porta all’Arco.

As we had a mind to eat out tonight, we decided, for the first time ever since we’ve been here, to grab a sandwich out of one of the few streetfood stores near us.  We chose La Sosta del Priore, just around the corner from the entrance to our apartment building.  It gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor, as do a couple of the other streetfood vendors in the area.

We both had variations on a porchetta (roast pork) sandwich.  They assemble it in front of you, and chop up the pork on a flat griddle.  I had sundried tomatoes, porchetta, pecorino with a little fig jam.  It was sensational, and we’ll be trying these streetfood sandwiches again soon.  They fill you right up, too!


I should have taken a photo side-on, as this shot doesn’t do it justice.

Niamh found a single-seater chair she wanted to buy for our living room, in a place in the industrial zone of Colle di Val d’Elsa, a town about 35 minutes drive away.  As it was after 13:00, we had to wait ’til closer to 16:00 before heading out.  Colle di Val d’Elsa also has a lovely medieval town, and a nice centre to its modern area, but we didn’t visit those today – some other time!

Anyhoo, we got there, and noticed that the carpark was suspiciously empty.  Niamh had checked the opening times online, but the message on the window nonetheless stated that they were shut from August 4th until the 27th.  Wonderful.  Back we went, but on the way home, I took some snaps of the countryside as we were driving.

Upon arriving back in Volterra, we decided not to blow our time at the apartment until it was time to eat, but did this instead:


A manly drink for a manly man, in the prime of his manly manhood.  I considered it one of my 5 a day, as it had pulped peach in it.  We got these in Antica Velathri Café (Velathri is what the Etruscans called Volterra back in the day).  There is a fabulous mixologist there, and he’s very friendly to boot.  They also have little bready canapés you can eat, if you like.

After we’d had a couple there, we went to Il Pozzo degli Etruschi for dinner.  Niamh ordered one course with a contorno (side dish) of grilled veg, and I two.  This is the second time we’ve done this, and neither restaurant has gotten the timing right, despite confirming it with us.  So I had my second dish while Niamh had to look on and wait.  We won’t make the same mistake again.

Anyway, she had roast cutlets of wild boar, and she said it was the most delicious meat-dish she’s had here.  I had a taste and had to agree – it was pretty sensational.  I had Zuppa alla Volterrana (veggies!), and after pici with lamb sauce.  The soup was ok – not as good as in a couple of other places I’ve had it, but the pici dish was great!  

As we both had very full bellies, we went home.

There was supposed to be hella rain this morning, so I had conditioned myself to not going out for a walk.  In addition, they were spraying for mosquitoes in the green areas around Volterra, and I didn’t want to be around that.  I tried to sleep in.  I really did, but there it must have been the commercial glass bin collection day today… and they must have set up a central collection point right underneath our bedroom window.  The sound of glass bottles crashing together can become unnerving after 30 straight minutes of it.  Still… it must be done to keep the town tidy.

Long story short: fat, lazy Eoin didn’t go out for a walk today.  Will do so tomorrow!