under the Tuscan sky

There's a place where the sun is always rising or setting, brushing long strokes out over the hills stacked like sheets of translucent vellum. The air is heavy with sweetness, the fields grafted with olives and grapes. Gold dust has been shaken all over Tuscany, my favorite part of Italy. We spent 4 days in the region, and our base was Florence, the caramel-chocolate of the box. We searched out the best gelaterias, ate gnocchi and risotto and ribollita (bread soup). We shopped for leather jackets and thin scarves, and hiked up and down steep brick streets. And we drove through the sea of blue hills and the low, low clouds.

We didn't want to leave the world capital of relaxed living. Here are some (a lot of!) Tuscan instants, details and scenes. Delicious. Buon appetito!

They are mounted on hills of every vista in Tuscany. With their medieval ramparts, slit windows, and expansive sizes, I always wonder what's going on inside.


Dewy fields.
Soft, dense, unruly, the greens at twilight almost match Scotland's. Almost. I love these villas twinkling in the distance.


Tuscan classics: trees and vineyards
Conifers wishing they were deciduous are a classic Tuscan essential, and baby vines.


Cotton candy clouds
Don't you just want to eat this with a spoon? Me, too.


View from San Jimmy Johnno,
as my sweetie calls San Gimignano, the most darling capsule of a preserved medieval town, full of lemon-painted ceramics, boar-heads (for the typical Tuscan dish papardelle with wild boar sauce), and limoncello. We spent a day traveling to San G and Siena, smaller cities about an hour from Florence.


Here's the view from Siena


and of Siena, the source of the crayon's name.


The old city walls of San Gimignano.


These colours.
From Italian cookies to fashion to flags, they are everywhere.


Peeking through open doorways.


Killer shadows, eh?

Looking up.
Towers, studded ceilings, crazy chandeliers: if only we were monkeys!

I just looked up castle parts to bring you the word du jour. This would be the pattern on the top of castle walls, and, in Tuscany, on the villas.


Deer, clouds, and my heartsicord strings are plucking.

Tiled roofs
are the thing to do. They claim it never rains, but I think perhaps otherwise?


Shutters, working shutters, are just as prevalent.


White laundry.
I love the symmetry, the scent of this photo.


The most famous square in Italy.
Siena's clamshell-shaped sloping, bricked square is outlined with cafes. I spent a lot of time jumping from pigeons walking under my chair. After we left to take photos, my in-laws reported one came to eat the rest of my lunch, and had to be shooed away by a konk from a glass bottle.


Vines and flower boxes.
They simply spring from walls and clay pots and window boxes in vibrant oranges, yellows, and succulents.

Ponte Vecchio in Florence.
Melt my heart, this is my favorite view in Italy. I've been saving it. The only bridge in Florence that survived WWII is this shop-lined glory. I only regret I don't have pictures taken on it. At night, the shops pull their wooden doors shut and you feel like you're in Beauty and the Beast meets Italy.


To sum, from watercolored hills

to drastic clouds, from the handsome man with the camera,

to the crew team slicing by our hotel each evening,


life over the Tuscan rivers and under the Tuscan rays filled us with enough sunshine to last a month. I won't even start on the food. Grazie, Firenze!