VolaTerrA Luncheon Review – Taste the Well-Deserved Pride of Place


Roberta Vichi of Volterra’s tourist office (Consorzio Turistico Volterra Valdicecina Valdera) asked me to spell “locavore” on her notepad. 



A bilingual and cosmopolitan woman who has traveled to the US more than a few times, Roberta thought that this word would come in handy, perhaps in conversations with American foodies who walk through her office doors in search of Volterra restaurant tips. 


Roberta’s query seemed to underline what often seems to be the case--those who LIVE locavore rarely feel the need to say the word.  After all, we were with Roberta in VolaTerrA, a charming little bistro that is devoted to showcasing all the good foods and wines of Volterra, many of which come from 0 KM range.   These are not locavore wannabees.  These are people who live locally sourced goodness through and through.



VolaTerrA was started a year ago by Jonni Guarguaglini and his mother, Anna Maria Barberini



Their family founded Volterra’s Frantoio Colli Toscani olive oil company 20 years ago.



Last year they opened VolaTerrA steps from the Volterra tourist office to showcase not only their company’s olive oil products (food, soap, cosmetics), but also to offer food made with 0 KM ingredients and shelves stocked with food and wine of all sorts from the Volterra area.



Walking past the overflowing displays of wine and food to your small, intimate table in the back of VolaTerrA immediately gives you a feeling of being surrounded by high quality bounty. 



This would be an ideal place to pick up gifts for friends and family back home. 



If you are staying more than a few days in Volterra it’s easy to imagine that you will be making several pit stops to VolaTerrA to recharge.  It also is clearly a lunch spot for locals, which is always a good recommendation.



Even the glassware was distinctive and attractive.  Roberta explained to us that this is predictable in Volterra, i.e. a design flair, because the centuries old alabaster art works seeded the development of Volterra as an art and design center more than a century ago. 



There is palpable maternal pride in Anna Maria’s face as she sees her hip young son show you the wares and explain the wine and food as he refills your glass. 




It is exciting to think what his more tech-savvy social media oriented mind will bring to promoting Volterra’s products.  One sign might be the video he and his ad agency made to counter what he considers gross misinformation printed in the New York Times about illegal olive oil labeling.


It’s in Italian, but you can watch the video here that he spearheaded and compare it to the New York Times illustrated commentary to see how a new marketing savvy is at work for their cause. 



Note to the New York Times-- 


There may indeed be pirated olive oil happening somewhere that is compromising the Italian quality labels.  But if you travel about Tuscany for even a short time you will learn about a much bigger part of the story that surely should be part of any report on Italian olive oil.  It is simply astounding to see the many, many thousands of acres of olive trees that were simply not harvested last year because of quality concerns.  We heard this not from one olive oil producer but from many---due to excessive rain there was an excess of insect eggs spoiling the olive fruit.  Olive producers conscientious about their brand considered it a bum harvest not worth bottling. 


You’ll find that devotion to quality at VolaTerrA



Via Giusto Turazza, 5/7

56048 Volterra, Italy


(+39) 328 2323453




Photos:  Peter Kachergis, unless otherwise indicated 






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