Under the Tuscan Umbrella

I had the good fortune this month to attend the Travel, Food and Wine Writing Workshop in Tuscany with Nick O’Connell. A group of writers drove and flew in from France, Australia and The States to wine and dine and concoct stories as varied and honest as a Tuscan stew or ragu.

Landing in Rome I would have know exactly where in the world I was, if I had been transported there in my sleep–which of course I was. The villas, the landscape. The planted trees atop hills spaced like musical notes….

We considered ourselves fortunate for the verdant green landscape. Deep forests, gray-green olive groves, promising vineyards, and fields of bright yellow Scottish Broom punctuated with orange-red poppies. At this time of year, we were told, the hillsides are typically gold.

I should have known, for we had flown atop a mattress of cloud all the way.

In Siena my friend and I sat under café awnings in the shell shaped piazza, the Campo, watching monsoon rains wash the stones and run down Roman aqueducts. But for the most part, it was a soft rain with sunbreaks.

Our group walked the vineyards, and strolled among monks in the abbeys. Hiked La Madonna, the path along the perimeter of the hilltop town of Montalcino, where the park drops off into the view like an infinity pool.

When we weren’t eating, drinking or writing, we were walking….

Tuscany is rose country. Roses grow over walls, roofs, and over all, like bougainvillaea along the Riviera.

I fell in love with bells in Siena. Bouquets of bells, from every church and cathedral. But before the bells, an owl woke us each morning. Carried through the narrow canyons of city streets, the three same notes, then silence. Three notes, and silence….

People in Tuscany are very present. The people of Tuscany are not on cell phones.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Under the Tuscan Umbrella

  1. Kim,

    This is a beautiful piece. It is well, well crafted, not labored-crafted but Master-crafted. There’s so much here for the apprentice, the teacher, the artist, the day dreamer, the scout.

    More on this, prosime?

    Al Finn

  2. Kim,

    Although I have never been to Italy, let alone Tuscany, your words have painted a beautiful landscape for me, the Tuscano countryside.

    Verdant, I wonder who the first author was that used this word to describe this Italian phenomena? We, as writers know this word is popular but what other word would serve? Well used, still not over used.

    The olive trees on hilltops like musical notes delights me as do the sounds your words produce in so many of the sentences of this post. Not unlike a short score themselves, perhaps a traveler’s tune or the lullaby of a day laborer. Not over done but, al dente.

    The nature of the blog is transforming the nature, or rules of writing. You have intermixed at least two short declaratives. Both incomplete sentences. No verb I believe. Very effective nonetheless, well-placed for the pause….

    I struggle with the nature of the blog if it supposed to be an unedited free flow of random thoughts because not everything flows so freely as the composer would wish it. For example, your use of, monsoon, to describe the heavy rains on the Roman landscape. I would change it to something more, Continental, Mediterranean………Etruscan. Arrrgh! man the bilge pumps. I also did not care for the word, concoct, that you used in the first paragraph. It conflicted with the word, honest, that followed because my Dad always used the word concoct in place of, to lie. But, it really does belong there because your traditional dishes that follow conjure up a concoction, a stew or ragu.

    The truth of the matter is that it’s much more my problem with not knowing how to read a blog than the yours, the author. I’m stuck in the past and still find plenty to struggle with there.

    I mean, if my blog, by its nature is supposed to be a brief, random or free flow of thoughts, does that preclude it from a good bath. Au natural can still stink up a place can’t it? Referring to my writing here, Kim, not yours.

    One more tit if I may. Scottish Broom, with caps of course, then how about Tuscan Roses and more. I am also Scotch by the way and a Scot too by ancestry, Ha!

    Water is for washing and whiskey is for drinking.

    And, check out an old short story called, The Olive Jar, by, by, by, an Italian Nobel Prize winner, I think, Pirandello? Very cute.

    Gratzie Kim for the beauty, humor and liberalism in your thoughts and words.

    Al Finn

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