Day Five – Quintessential Tuscana
It was dusk when we turned onto a long gravel driveway passing several villas; the last villa sat at the top of a hill among acres of vineyards. From the Poderi Arcangelo B&B farmhouse we saw the medieval villages of San Gimignano and Certaldo. I looked across hundreds of acres of vineyards and olive groves, subtle mixes of greens, russet and gold and watched as the mist softly rolled into place. My son had to drag me away.
We dreamily made our way to the main house upstairs to our suite. I surveyed the stone floors, dark wood furniture, queen bed with wrought iron headboard, coral coverlet and daybed across the room; an open window displayed the fields we had just studied. It was so Tuscan.
I sank into a luxuriously soft mattress…
Day 6 – Easels, Drones and Relentless Fog
The next morning we went downstairs for a buffet breakfast of croissants, nutella, chocolate cake, apricot juice and coffee. I loaded up my artist’s easel and headed outside to the fields to do some plein air painting. I painted the patchwork of fields in front of the distant villas while Jonathan’s drone flew overhead.
One thing that continued to follow us in November was fog. We couldn’t see San Gimignano from our location, which was only a few miles away.
San Gimignano – The Purchase
Disappointed with my painting of the fields, we headed out to San Gimignano, a 13th century medieval walled village. We stopped along the way, pausing to photograph golden vineyards whose leaves clung tenaciously to vines. I passed the village years earlier; the unmistakable profile with 13 towers made an impression.
It was dusk when we arrived at San Gimignano. We saw shops with leather purses, pottery and paintings. Since my son was with me, I knew my shopping time would be limited. I decided to get him involved in the process –– I wanted him to share it with me. I settled on a pottery shop with a likeable owner and a good selection of traditional and contemporary artists.
I wanted a traditional design with lemons and flowers, but my son preferred a more contemporary scene. Then there was the problem of what to choose: a bowl, plate, vase, an olive oil holder. Finally I settled on a contemporary scene of San Gimignano by a local artist. It was a happy scene of bright colors, towers, olive groves and blue sky.
As night approached and remaining tourists cleared out, we had the village all to ourselves. The quiet indigo sky and warm lantern lights returned and we embraced the night sights and sounds. Illuminated passages led us further down brick paths, through arches, and past sleeping churches. I originally regretted that it got dark early in Italy in November; now I was glad for this new way of seeing it.