Since I was a child I was used to go there often: I was born and grew up in Piedmont but my father is Tuscan and I have got lot of uncles and cousins living in Siena and in the province that my family and I went to visit each summer.
I clearly remember the pre-departure adrenaline, get baggages ready, wake up at dawn and, especially, the car journey, marked by the music of my cassette player, the caresses to the cat – yes, we carried over our kitty too – and the rest in the motorway café. And finally the arrival in Asciano, city of the Sienese clays and for me, at that time, Paradise: mollycoddled by relatives, I discovered the smell of the newly mown hay and the existence of fireflies in the evening, I ate “ciaccino” while helped my aunt in every conceivable small job, I stared at falling stars in a sky much more brighter than that one where I lived. What a sadness getting back home!
So, for about twenty years, I’ve learned to know and love a part of Tuscany. Then, when I grew up, I started to explore it more with family, friends, boyfriend – even my first boyfriend was from Siena! – and alone. Still now, when my foreign friends ask me advice about where to go in Italy, one of my first suggestions is Tuscany.
It is a region strong as its earth and joyful as its sunflowers, where hills and sea embrace each other and make us dream.
What to see in tuscany:
And, concerning dreams and advices, these are the stages and the memories that touched me more (obviously, the province of Siena is a dominant part):
- Viareggio and the pinewood where, when I was a child, I rode the bike or picked pine nuts before running towards the sea to splash around in waves;
- Forte dei Marmi and the walks along its stylish streets holding cotton candy stick in your hand;
- Lucca and its small but wonderful botanical garden which rises in the heart of the historical centre, hidden among thousands of little churches of the city;
- Pisa and the tourists, that I really enjoy to observe, amazed in front of the leaning tower that yes, it leans for real and that, by a construction and calculation error, became one of the most famous monuments in the world;
- Florence and the astonishing sensation to wander in a city that, for its beauty, seems artificial and that was the capital city of great literary men that gave us, among other things, the Italian language (sympathize with me, please, I am a literature enthusiast and I get really excited when I walk along the same streets of Dante, Petrarca and Boccaccio!);
- Arezzo and the walks with my cousin eating ice-cream and admiring a lovely city often rebuffed for the proximity to the most known Florence and Siena;
- Siena and the cross inlayed in the marble of the steps behind the Baptistery, in memory of the place where Santa Caterina falled, a detail that only the people from Siena know and that I have always been proud to know;
- San Gimignano and the blast from the past in the Middle Ages every time I get in its ancient walls;
- Pienza and its central square where I always realize that I am in the place built according to the “ideal city” standards;
- Montalcino and its restaurants with a view on hills where the tasty Tuscan cuisine moistens with delicious local wines;
- Montepulciano and wines, again…
- Monteriggioni and the tiny perfection of this little town fortified on a hill.
And, not included in the list, because of their high sublimity so that it is impossible to name them in somewhat list, even if it is on good memories… the hills.
Soft hills, covered with sunflowers, where cypress rows lead to ancient cottages.
The hills of the postcards that everyone of us have seen at least once in life.
The hills that make my heart beating every time I get back in memories. The hills I talk about to my foreign friends when they ask me about Italy.
The hills where my love for earth sinks.
The hills of Tuscany.