2017 – Volterra – Museums & Cooking Class

Tip: when in Tuscany if you ask for ham and cheese with your eggs (not that you get this choice very often) remember where you are! We were served eggs on one dish, and then prosciutto and pecorino on a separate dish. I’m not complaining, just didn’t expect it served that way. Ricardo is loving these breakfasts because he knows once we leave our apartment – it will be slim pickins for breakfast – which is more common. 

Today is a flex day in our schedule. We built it in just in case we needed a day to sober up from all the wine we’ve been drinking. No comment.


Old and newish back area of Volterra. Thought it was a great contrast to what existed and what we consider new age, which is still really old.

Once we parked in town, we stopped by the information center. Did I learn nothing from working at Travel Salem for two years? We were given a map and some directions. Next stop, the Officio postale (post office) to buy francobolli (stamps) for postcards to be sent to the little ones. Just so you know, six post card stamps cost 13.20 euros which are outrageous! At 2.20 euros apiece, I don’t even want to know what that equates to in dollars. 

The Etruscan Museo was next on our agenda. Trying to avoid the construction, we headed down one street, took a left, and apparently went in a circle because we came out right where we started. Cheri you already know this about me. I have no internal GPS. A few more streets and scuzi’s later we were pointed to the museum which was right across the street from where we were standing. We must not have looked to our left. 😉

I had read about this museum in books and online last year and even at that was surprised at the number of Etruscan urns that were housed in this museum – some behind glass – some just standing around. Although, we were warned not to get too close or an alarm would go off. The alarm did go off several times while we were there, but we were nowhere near them I swear – it was another lady. She was very pretty and had a great figure and was patted down a couple of times – I think on purpose. 

Man in decorative robe.Woman with Medusa guarding her. 

These are the urns we have picked up for our remains – ha ha. They said that the figures on the tops of the urns would represent the human inside and the box around it was decorated in many ways, like horses to take you to your next life, or family members to celebrate and send you on your way. I know a few family members that would be happy to send me on my way and should be carved into the bottom of the urn. These urns were fascinating to look at and I wonder about what the people buried inside were like. One urn had dolphins flanked around the man laying on top. Ricardo said this might have been the first Italian to “swim with the fishes.” (Think Godfather movies.)

Another thing we can’t appreciate today is that every city/state had its own money. Sicily had coins that looked similar but different to Sardinia’s money, and so on. What a nightmare that would be today to even have to carry around coins for each state like California, Oregon, New York, yikes! 

The museum was three stories high so a lot of walking, climbing stairs – but wait – half way through our tour on the third floor we spot an elevator – of course after we have climbed and climbed. Well, we did take the elevator down!

On to the next museum. This one had a three-story entrance. We couldn’t even get in without climbing three stories. We thought for sure there would be a ticket taker on level one…no… so we go up the next double flight of stairs and…. no one, so we keep climbing, all the while looking for an elevator. None. We get to the third floor, which is really the fourth because you climb a flight of stairs just getting into the building before the entrance. (I’m becoming obsessed about how people count courses at dinner, flights of stairs, floors of a building. Self – let it go.) Anyway, we were then told that this museum was private and not covered under the museum card we had purchased at the last museum. Ugh! And so down the flights of stairs we go. 

Museo Tortura was the next museum we saw and it also was not covered under our Volterra Museum Card. Hmmmm. I’m kind of glad because this was a torture museum and not so sure I wanted to see all that stuff anyway. This chair was sitting outside and I asked Ricardo if he wanted to sit down for a minute. He was out of this area quicker than I’ve seen him move in years. 

Back to the apartment for lunch that we purchased yesterday in San Gimignano, wild boar salami, cheeses (I have already forgotten the names of the varieties we bought), bread, pears, and oranges. No wine at lunch today! 

Cooking class

The last time we were at this agritourism I took a cooking class. Shocker I know! So for tradition’s sake, I had to take another. Besides I needed a new apron (a gift as part of the class).

Today’s class made Chicken Limone with parsley and garlic, Fake Ragu (made with vegetables – no meat) with pasta, rosemary and garlic potatoes, and tiramisu for dessert.

It only took us 2 1/2 hours to make enough for 16 people. We had a lot of fun cooking together and the dinner guests seemed to like it.  A few even asked for more, so I think dinner was a success.
The meal ended with espresso and limoncello. Yay!

The chefs of the day. 

Recipes and photos of the meal we created will be featured in future blogs after I return home. A person has to sleep after all that cooking and eating. And I have to rest up for more wine tasting tomorrow.

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