A True Craftsman


I didn't even catch his name.

But this gentleman left quite an impression on us, and I can't wait to see him again the next time we're in the Tuscan hill town of Volterra. We were making our way down a steep street toward an ancient Etruscan city gate when we saw him sitting outside his workshop. Both Becky and I were immediately drawn to his hands. They seemed unusually large and were white as alabaster. He has been working with this beautiful, porous stone for...wait for it...seventy years, and his hands have become a permanent reminder of his craft. He takes the four main colors of alabaster, mined in the surrounding hills for thousands of years, and carves figurines, eggs, wine stoppers, and more...all beautiful and worth their modest price. Volterra is considered the alabaster capital of the world, not to mention one of the most charming places I've been in all of Italy.

I engaged him in conversation, asking about his business, about the magical hilltop city he's lived in all his life...and he was only too happy to answer my questions.

If I am half that good-natured when I'm in my nineties, well, let's just say I'll be a joy to be around.

The next time we take a group to Volterra, you can be sure I'll get his name this time.