Far from heaven

3A3CAA25-2977-49C7-9160-94F9EC0CF8A7In 1993, my parents and I travelled to Italy for the first time, renting a villa high up in the hills where crickets were active all day and fireflies appeared at night. There was even an outdoor pool where I began each morning with a swim. But what most sticks in my mind is the lush green countryside with its rolling hills and cypress trees. I was reminded of these impressions the day I took the bus from Florence to San Gimigniano. There was something truly magical about leaving the city and its crowds behind to rediscover that amazingly green landscape. In truth, I wanted to journey to last for several hours and instantly regretted not buying a ticket as far as Siena. In San Gimigniano, I wandered further up the the steep slope, past the souvenir stalls with fedoras and the enormous queue for the amazing (and cheap) ice cream and found myself in a small olive grove where a man was playing a harp. I climbed up a little higher to the top of a ruin and surveyed the endless countryside around me. It’s impossible for me to describe how it made me feel, only that it was probably the closest thing to paradise I have known and that I wondered how it would be possible for me to leave this place after experiencing such beauty.


I am still mulling over these thought a month after my return. I still hear the delicate rustling of the olive leaves in the light breeze on that perfect autumn day. It seems so immediate yet far away now that there’s a chill in the air and the leaves have turned and begun to fall. I only hope that I’ll experience that kind of beauty again and leave you with some photos from that day and some more from Florence.



3 thoughts on “Far from heaven

  1. Such beautiful reflections of Italy you have shared with us
    Emily. I don’t know what it is about Florence and San Gimignano but I totally agree with you. The sunlight, olive trees, old stone paths and buildings really get to me. I dream of running away and never coming back to Chicago. I’m sure this romantic thought is what gets me through the hard times. Until we venture back we have sweet memories. Thanks for the bountiful buffet of images and words, xx.

    Liked by 1 person

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