Tuscany is a charmed land, equally blessed by the genius of man and nature,
and often by the combined efforts of both. Think of the vineyards: rows of baby
green vines that manage somehow to march in arrow-straight formation up the
gently rolling hillsides, bounded by single files of darker green cypress trees,
snaking sandy roads leading to rust-colored farmhouses and moss-coated castles,
symmetrically rounded hilltops surmounted by towns so homogeneous as to seem
one single building. Every inch of land has been sculpted, first by the elements
and then by generations of inhabitants whose goals were always twofold: make
the land produce as much as possible, make the land as beautiful as possible.
Tuscany enchants us today because it holds together as a region, from the tiniest
hamlet to Florence the Magnificent. For the living proof, take a short walk
one day along the sides of the Belvedere in Florence: you will leave behind
the traffic and suddenly find yourself strolling down quiet lanes bounded by
tall stone walls, cypress trees and creamy-colored villas.