Saturday, 3 September 2016
Postcard from Florence 3: Tuscan Sunshine
Come on, we've spent enough time indoors! Outside the sun is shining. Tuscan light, painter's light... Probing, bathing, basking, baking everything, everywhere, all day. Most days, anyway.
A bus-ride through the Florentine suburbs, up into the hills – Fiesole, say, or Settignano – and then you're out in that classic Tuscan countryside, marinaded in sunshine, so beloved of the Euro-elite, the wealthy and well-connected, the ones who don't have to show up for work during the summer and who spend the silly season in a villa with a pool and, for the really top-drawer folk, accommodation for the staff and the personal protection detail. It may be different further away from Florence but here, where you can look down onto the apartment blocks, red-tiled roofs and tourist attractions of the city, it's very quiet, and very private, and there is absolutely no way to go off-road and go for a roam through the olive groves. Another Browning poem comes to mind, "Up at a Villa – Down in the City", though the polarities have reversed for the "persons of quality" since Browning's day.
It is also, of course, the countryside beloved of the photographic workshop, and I felt the dead hand of cliché on my shoulder at every turn. Which is why I take the X-20 on holiday... It's totally adequate for holiday snaps and collage material, but relieves the pressure of expectation for anything more substantial. That's what being on holiday is all about, isn't it? We never dress for dinner in Tuscany, darling. Totes de trop, babe! Solo quattro gatti!
Although, after a good day's sunshine, it can be a relief to get back indoors, close the shutters, and fire up the wi-fi... And, when it comes down to it, some of us are Night People by temperament, anyway.