Living in la bella Toscana (beautiful Tuscany) I consider myself extremely lucky. There is so much culture here, it almost hurts.
In just over an hour by train I can be in Florence where the risk of being overwhelmed with beauty is very real. This place, whilst a busy city, is filled with treasures and gorgeousness. Oh by the way, it’s also filled with tourists and a lot of traffic.
One of the first times I actually went to Florence was to celebrate a wedding anniversary (without kids and with my now ex. husband) when I was still living in England. I remember trying to find a good, small local restaurant to eat and coming across the aftermath of a scooter accident.
The “victim” who had been on the scooter was lying on the floor trying to get up whilst the predominantly Italian “audience” were shouting “stay where you are”, “don’t get up”. There was clearly nothing wrong with the person (still not sure if it was male or female) as they were doing their level best to get up but of course the ever cautious Italians were adamant that he or she should stay down, even holding them down to make sure. In the end, they succumbed to and lay flat out. The ambulance was after all on the way and those glorious Italian police women were on hand, or rather standing around looking glamorous, with their long wavy hair and two inch long nails. I wonder how they ever catch the criminals? Ah well, that will be another story.
Oops, got side tracked a bit there, anyhow, the beauty and art here in Tuscany is just fabulous you overdose on it and still come back for more. You don’t have to look far to find exhibitions or “mostre di arte” in this wonderful part of Italy. The other famous towns and cities of Pisa, Sienna and Lucca are all here as well as Pietrasanta which is a permanent art exhibition in itself!
Back in Florence though, you can walk across the Piazza Della Signora surrounded by breathtakingly historical buildings and filled with statues, including the David. Walk along the Piazzale degli Uffizi, lined with statues of the great philosophers where you can have your portrait sketched by one of the roadside artists. You are steeped in art and beauty. Every time I visit, I find myself running for the return train home. I always run out of time, there is so much to see. So if you are not lucky enough to live nearby like me, book yourself a couple of nights and give yourself a chance to take it all in.
If you feel the urge to contribute to the art world yourself, you can enrol for classes. One great way of doing this is to book a week of intensive learning. You can combine it with a summer holiday so you can really focus and also relax and enjoy. There are quite a few companies offering painting holidays here in Tuscany. They usually offer days out too so it’s a great way of seeing the area with an artistic eye. Oh yes and you get to take your paintings home to remember your holiday by.