Volterra – A Winter Delight

Volterra is a place I hadn’t visited before so when the opportunity arose to go and see this very medieval hill top town, as usual, I jumped at the chance.

You may have heard of it. It is an important location in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series  although  most of the important scenes were actually shot in Montepulciano, another place on my must visit and report on list.

After the fabulous views all around this place, I was struck initially about how sensible it was organised. I mean, there is actually a carpark (paid parking) under the town. We had no trouble in parking and it was easy to find our way into the main part, inside the walls.

First impressions, alabaster. There is a lot of alabaster here. There is the Alabaster Museum to visit where there are over 300 pieces of art from the 18th and 19th centuries. There are also more than a few alabaster shops where you can buy some quite classy pieces for the house or just a simple holiday souvenir. You also have the chance to see the alabaster being worked in one of the workshops there.

There is also a museum of torture which greets you with a huge werewolf. You may think is fun to visit as I did, but I found it to be quite heavy going due to the subject matter. It is, however, very well organised and interesting although afterwards, I was more than ready for a tasty glass of wine in one of the chic wine bars that dot the place.

Torture museum Volterra Tuscany Italy

 

Lunch was in a lovely trattoria down one of the little cobbled side streets, tagliatelle al tartufo washed down with a local glass of white wine and finished off with a slug of espresso.

I visited Volterra in winter time. This place gets pretty crowded in the summer and in winter you get a feel for the real town. There is a traditional Saturday market too. In the the winter it is in the Piazza dei Priori and in the summer in the Vallebuona in front of the Roman theatre. Yes Volterra has a bit of everything. Roman and Etruscan history and remains. It even has a state prison, cleverly disguised as what I thought was some sort of ancient and well-preserved castle. I hurried away when I realised!

 

What did I like about Volterra in winter? I like the fact that you could feel the medieval ambience there. It is a well organised place but with chic little bars down fascinating streets as well as some cool up-market shops there. You wouldn’t have the same intimacy in the summer when the crowds are pulling you in all directions and the heat can be stifling.

Summer? Yes, actually I can’t wait to go in the summer and see the change, and of course report back.

Volterra, Tuscany Italy

Are Italian Men Really Sexy? Read this report.

Part 1

Are Italian men sexy? Well, I should know, after all I’ve lived here since 2005, AND I have a lot of Italian girlfriends so I think I am well qualified to give you the low down.

I was going to wait a little longer before committing to writing about Italian men since I have such a lot to say, I thought it would be, and it will be, very time consuming. I did feel that I ought to at least start for you may curious people out there and I was almost thrown into writing it when I was feeling angry at my current, if very part-time partner who suggested getting together on New Year’s Eve only to spoil things by saying to me “of course at mid-night, I will have to go outside and phone my other lady friends to wish them a Happy New Year” on my evening? I don’t think so, so I turned him down. Come on you Italian guys, have a little respect please, we ladies are human and we do have feelings.

Back to the subject at hand. Just imagine those sexy, tanned, sultry looking Italian men you see in the ads lounging across a big soft bed and looking, well, sexy. The harsh truth is that they sleep in jersey boxer shorts with either old t-shirts or sweatshirts on the top. Their aim is to keep warm. Heaven help them if they have a shoulder sticking out from under the duvet and it catches cold. You’ll never hear the end of it.

My ex used to get dressed the next morning, still wearing the said boxer shorts but he did, at least change the shirt. He even wore a pair of ladies pj’s (his mother bought them and didn’t understand the English, very girly, motto on them) just to keep warm. Sexy Italian man? I don’t think so.

Yes, they can certainly charm you. Who doesn’t melt at the heavily accented “I’m from Italy” initial chat up line and that oh so charming kiss on the hand but whoa there ladies, he has only one objective, to charm himself into your bedroom, where, according to him, you belong, and he knows it works!

Society here in Italy is very sexist with women being shown in the media as decorative items with no brains required thanks. It is very reminiscent of 1970’s Britain and the Benny Hill show. Ladies flutter and flaunt and only say silly unimportant things. The men are important and they are allowed, by society, to treat women as baubles for their pleasure. I have seen couples discussing how beautiful, or otherwise a woman, young or otherwise, is. The lady half of the couple having to give her, usually generous opinion, without jealousy, in agreement with her other half. Of course, the men themselves are all “handsome” in their own eyes, and very much available to any opportunity that may come their way.

My girlfriends, all had fathers who were serial womanisers, their wives turning a blind eye. They went on to marry men who were serial womanisers too, only they didn’t turn a blind eye and separated. They do not  have a single good word to say about Italian males, many preferring to pin their hopes on foreign men who are seen as more trustworthy and reliable.

Are Italian men dangerously reckless and sexy?

No. Everything is bad for you and you shouldn’t do it.

Will they take you on an adventure, to dinner, to anywhere?

No – they will often dine with their male friends and adventures are expensive. All the Italian males I have dated have been a little short in the arm when it comes to reaching into their pockets for their wallet to treat their date like a special person.

Are Italian men fun?

Yes – if you don’t pressure them into committing to you (that takes years) and you try to take each encounter as it comes and don’t, what ever you do, believe what he is telling you about being the most beautiful, fabulous, incredible creature he has ever met. He’s probably just been saying the exact same thing to someone else just half an hour before you met.

End of part 1