Sunday, April 3, 2016


For many years a visit to Volterra, in Tuscany, was on our must see list in spite of the fact that it happens to be one of Rick Steves favorite towns. Elizabeth and I finally got our chance when we were spending the night with friends, Paul and Betty, at Poggio Alloro in nearby San Gimignano. As typical of many Tuscan towns, Volterra sits high on a collina, or hill and I mean high.

To get a sense of the importance of a town we habitually head straight for the Duomo  or cathedral.

It is here in these amazing spaces that one finds the most significant works of art, usually commissioned by wealthy merchants who wanted to save their souls from eternal damnation. At least it kept artists working.

After filling ourselves with local culture ( and lunch), I began looking around for why I really came here and what Volterra is world famous for......


Before glass was invented, windows in important buildings were fitted with panes of alabaster, a fine transparent / translucent 'rock' that allows light to pass through and has a slightly mystical otherness to it. You still find alabaster windows in churches, for example in the Orvieto Duomo.

What I came for was a simple 'classico' footed bowl, simple in shape that will perhaps play an important role in a still life to come.
Just how do I get it home without cracking it?


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