2017 – Volterra – Saturday Market

Mercato di Sabato (Saturday Market)

The local weekly markets in Italy are so much fun. It seems like most cities of a reasonable size have these markets one day a week. We planned our time here in Volterra so we could experience this one. It’s really small scale compared to Portland’s Saturday Market and maybe only a row of the Orange County Swap Meet.

It’s not the size of the market that is important, it is the people who sell and buy that is the draw for me, and the eclectic goods that are sold. A stand next to fruits and vegetables could be shoes or underwear or fabrics. The meat and cheese trailers are always crowded with shoppers picking out delicacies for their meals. 

The clouds have been threatening rain for days and today was the day they unloaded. Did we bring an umbrella with us to Italy? Of course we did. Did we bring it with us to the market? Noooo. My shirt has a hood so guess who got wet. Silly boy. This region has not had rain for awhile and it is welcome for the crops and hillsides. It really didn’t matter to us because we were able to do everything we wanted during the warm sunny days. In fact, by the afternoon, the sun came out and we were back Under the Tuscan Sun.

Since we were in town, we decided to hit a few more museums – we were determined to make our investment of the Museum pass pay off. We visited the alabaster museum and the city hall. Although the tower of the city hall was closed because it was raining. Not sure the significance there, but it’s Italy. We’re just happy no one decided to go on strike (yet). 

The mercato is located right next to the Roman Theatre. Imagine back in the day. 

Here’s a gate to nowhere. Watch that first step! I took the picture from the mercato about 2-3 stories below.

Outside the alabaster museum. Such an interesting building inside and out. 

Inside the museum, an instrument made out of alabaster. Ricardo wondered what it might sound like. He was thinking a “lute-a-lele.” Or maybe “hard rock” since it is made of stone. Alberto M, any guesses? 

We also mailed the postcards to the grands. Let’s hope they get them before we get home. The lady in the post office said they would get there in 20 days. Not sure if that is 20 Italian days or ???? Start counting!

We’ve been in Italy a week now and two things we haven’t eaten yet – gelato and pizza. We remedied one of those food choices today – we grabbed a pizza in Volterra and brought it back to our apartment to chow down. It had been a long time since our breakfast protein bar. 

We leave in the morning to return the car to Florence and hop a train to Venice. Just finished reading “1000 Days in Venice” a light romantic novel about an American who finds romance in Venice, moves there and marries a Venetian. Not that I’m looking for one myself, but….. (thanks Paola for loaning me the book – it was fun to read). 

Bye-bye to picking figs for our afternoon snack.

Musings of Volterra

Before we leave Volterra, a few things I found amusing: 

McDonald’s. While traversing the countryside yesterday going to Cecina, there were signs for a drive thru McDonald’s. We never saw it (not that we were looking for it), but thought how odd for these signs to be on the road every few kilometers. I wonder if they were appealing to the tourists driving around lost (like there will be chicken McNuggets at the end of the road) or if the Italians are moving to fast-food? 

Phantom radio. The car we rented is inhabited by a phantom radio. During the course of this week, it has turned on at the strangest times – just jabbering away and fades out almost as quickly. We couldn’t find the controls for the radio to turn it off and just got accustomed to it popping in and out during our drives through Tuscany.

Window screens. Most windows in places we have stayed do not have screens so every bug and insect has full reign. Our apartment has screens – but really – it is just a suggestion. Most of them have medium-sized gaping holes or the screen just puddles at the bottom and are not tight in a frame so anything can crawl in….. and has.

Neighbor dog. The owners of our agritourism had several dogs the last time we visited here. Now they only have one – and are caring and feeding a neighbor dog whose owner is neglecting him. He is a beautiful dog, we think a breed like a shephard/lab. He guards the road coming into the property – not by barking – but by sitting IN the middle road. When asked, he will move but seems somewhat put out. As you can see, we have asked him to move and he did, but we got “the look.” And you know he will be your best friend when it’s meal time. The owners feed him dog food and scraps from the meals served here. We’ve enjoyed his visits in the late afternoon too. 

The “O”. We saw this on the side of the road and thought it framed the countryside perfectly. There is something we have yet to find out about this orange “O” we saw while traveling around the countryside. We even saw a painting of the orange “O”  in the restaurant we went to last night. The thought did cross our minds that Oregon State fans were here and painted over a green “O” (that stands for Oregon University in the US) but figured that was taking a rivalry a bit far – literally.  

We’re off to our next adventure!

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