01 Nov 2012

After 18 years in Pisa (at least half of time) and my entire life in Southern Tuscany, nature and art should not leave me in awe anymore. But the electric blue sky of an autumn evening made me realize you cannot really grow used to beauty.

Tuscany through my eyes – Week 2

Now that my project about Tuscany over the seasons is over, I have decided to start a new project: Tuscany through my eyes. Well, more or less… I am planning on publishing one or more photos of Tuscany every week, and not just some beautiful photos, but images that “match” the way I see my beautiful region at that time of the year. I will publish photos that I have taken and photos that I have not taken but I wish I had! 52 posts to show you Tuscany the way I see it and feel it. Here are the other posts in the series.

Week 2 – or how much I love the fall

Last weekend, we turned the clock back 1 hour. The result is that when I leave the office, around 6pm, it is quite dark outside. Not totally dark yet, though: there is still some light which makes the sky look almost purplish.

On the days when I drive to work instead of walking or going by bike, I often walk through Piazza dei Miracoli to reach the parking lot and yesterday was one of these days. I was in no special hurry, so I took my time and looked around. You would think after 18 years in the city, I should know everything about its most iconic spot, yet the beauty of the Cathedral, the Tower and the Baptistery really struck me. The square was unusually empty because it was raining. There was a strange light which made the whole complex look almost lilac. And the clash with the electric blue sky, the white marble and the green grass was just pure beauty.

(I did not take this amazing photo – Bas Wolfs Photography did)

This photo is almost identical to what the square looked like tonight, except that it was not so dark and that the lights were on in the Cathedral too, so it was even more spectacular. That was the moment I regretted non having my iPad with me and even more, not owning an iPhone. It would have made for a fabulous photo.

If you read my blog, my love for the fall will come as no surprise to you. It is the only time of the year that I find equally beautiful both in Pisa and at home, in Southern Tuscany, which is much more rural, and way less urbanized.

To me, the sign that the autumn has arrived in the countryside is the mist slowly raising above the hills in the early morning. It creates a sort of puffy lake in the middle of which wooded islands emerge here and there, until the sun finally comes up from behind Monte Amiata and clears the countryside.

morning mist tuscany

(Gorgeous photo by Paolo Romagnoli)

We divide our time between Pisa and my home village, Civitella Marittima. We are always back in the village at the weekend, and we usually spend between 3 and five days in Pisa, depending on my schedule at work. Some people think having to drive for 2 hours back and forth every week is really annoying, but we like it. We are so used to it, it is no trouble anymore. Besides, after a few days in the city, I usually miss my village, the open spaces, the countryside, the silence. Usually, but not so much in the fall.

I don’t mind splitting my time between these two completely different realities to begin with, but in the fall, I think Pisa has a charm of its own, just like home, but different.

Fall in Pisa is the busy shopping streets that smell of roasted chestnuts, the beauty of the trees turning yellow in some of its squares, like the amazing Piazza San Paolo a Ripa d’Arno and Piazza Santa Caterina, and in its gardens: Giardino Scotto, the Botanic Garden (which I can see from my office window – wow!) and most of all Le Piagge.

(Photo by VivianV)

It is also the many events that make the city a lovely place to visit in autumn: Dolcemente Pisa, a festival dedicated to all things sweet, the opening of the annual big exhibit at Palazzo Blu (Kandinsky this year!), the Pisa Book Festival, just to mention a few.

Regardless of how long I have lived in my “homes” (I am starting to thinkĀ  I have two at this point…), I have not grown used to their beauty, be it the result of nature or mankind. And that is a blessing.

Happy All Saints’ Day to you all!


  1. So beautiful! I dream of one day going to visit Italy even if only for a short time. Tuscany sounds great. I need to research more bed and breakfast too. Lovely blog.

  2. May

    I came across your blog and its amazing to see beautiful photos of Toscana and these of Pisa where I am putting up now. Thanks and great job!

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