Is Tuscany a place or an outlook? To arrive in Tuscany is to ease into a slower pace of life. It is to stop rushing, to take the time to look and to savor, to spend time over meals worth eating to enjoy the wine and conversation and to let the world go on without you. For whatever time you are fortunate enough to spend in Tuscany, know that you will cease to be the person you are at home, at work, or even in your own head.
For me Tuscany begins with the countryside and the way it flows and folds, curves, rises and gently falls. Even the landscape is not rushed. The countryside is the land of the farmers sewing winter wheat, the vintners caring for their vines, the olive trees shaken to give up their fruit and the comfy life found in a villa.
Growing organically out of the land are the hill towns, constructed of local Tuscan stone, often walled for protection from rival city-states in a time when such defensives had meaning. The hill towns are of the shopkeepers, the artisans, the restauranteurs, the local governments, the professionals. Service is attentive but not rushed as if to hurry someone along would be to insult them. Even the heavily touristed towns retain an air of gracious courtesy. Impatience seems reserved for driving . . .
Unless I am in a broad landscape like Patagonia or Denali, I become attracted to details. Tuscany was no except with its kaleidoscope of old buildings, rustic doors, handsome door knockers, sweet ceramics and parade of autumn colors. Sometimes a scene looked so old, so classic that it begged to be shared in a monochromatic palette. This was particularly striking in Pisa. Its historic buildings look like postcards from the 1950s.
If you follow this link, you will come to a menu of photographs arranged as the aspects of Tuscany seem to want to be. You might want to view them in sequence or not. Each one begins with descriptive text followed by photographs. The photographs may or may not be titled, depending on whether each one had something extra to say. You can see or drop the text with the photo by hovering over it.
If you have been to this heavenly part of our world, may you have fond recollections; if you have not, then enjoy this experience and be tempted to save your pennies.