This is the latest of our weekly travel photo series, inspired by #FriFotos on Twitter.
This week’s Photo Friday theme is CLOCKS?TIME. The photo above, of the Town Hall building in the Piazza del Priori in Volterra, Tuscany has a backstory that predates this blog’s existence:
In spring 2009, USA TODAY sent me to Italy for a couple of pop culture stories: Rome, as witnessed in Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, and the sudden emergence of Volterra, a small town in Tuscany, as a must-see for fans of the Twilight saga (the town appears in the second book of Stephenie Meyer’s series, New Moon). I had read the former, but knew very little about the latter. Eventually, I read the whole series out of sick curiosity (don’t judge! I worked at USA TODAY! We had to do these things!)
We went to Volterra not knowing what to expect, other than that we’d take one of the new Twilight tours instituted by the town’s tourist office. We ended up drinking fake “blood” and watching a creepy reenactment of the Volturi scenes in a dark basement on a tour full of rabid Italian-speaking vampire fans. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much on assignment in my life. (Read the final story).
Luckily, Volterra had a surprising amount to offer beyond Twilight. One of the 12 Etruscan power centers from the sixth to fourth century B.C. built on an economy of alabaster, iron and salt, Volterra boasts one of the largest collections of that civilization’s artifacts at the Guarnacci Etruscan Museum. A Roman amphitheater outside the town walls dates to the first century, and its medieval center remains one of the best preserved in Italy.
Even though there’s still one Twilight movie to go, I’m glad that pop culture tourism has moved on to other locales (North Carolina is expecting a wave of Hunger Games fans this spring and summer). Every obsession has its time.