A journey through the wilds of Tuscany is an opportunity to share in a fundamental Italian concept: bella figura. Beyond its literal meaning (‘beautiful figure’), it’s a deeper appreciation of beauty in every aspect of life, from art and architecture to manners and food.
Enjoying some of the region’s much loved delicacies shows the proof is in the pudding. The home cooking of cucina povera embodies a profound affinity with nature and knowledge passed from one generation to the next. Slowly following the common thread of bella figura unearths a wealth of local surprises.
We hope you’ll enjoy reading one or two of our favourite books about Tuscany as, away from the popular sights, there are few more enchanting places in the world.
‘A TUSCAN CHILDHOOD’ BY KINTA BEEVOR
Beevor recounts an idyllic childhood spent in a Tuscany that has been largely lost. The family entertain D.H. Lawrence, Bernard Berenson and Aldous Huxley and Kinta and her brother spend time exploring the kitchen and countryside, delighting in the wisdom, gossip and sing song of la cucina. This is also a story of resilience as Beevor returns to a post-war Tuscany where her neighbours and friends set about rebuilding their lives.
‘ETRUSCAN PLACES’ BY D.H. LAWRENCE
Lawrence’s last travel book is a vivid and haunting account his slow journey through the lands of the once great Etruscan civilisation. Written during his final visit to Tuscany in 1927 as Mussolini had taken hold of the country, Lawrence’s nomadic spirit and imagination invokes the memory of an ancient people and landscape.
‘WAR IN VAL D’ORCIA: AN ITALIAN WAR DIARY, 1943-1944’ BY IRIS ORIGO
The diary of an Englishwoman, married to an Italian, recording the German invasion of the Tuscan countryside, turning the peaceful valley they farm into a battleground. The Origos give shelter and sustenance to children, refugees, deserters and partisans as the fighting draws ever closer. A record of humanity, compassion and heroism amongst devastation.
‘THE LAND WHERE THE LEMONS GROW’ BY HELENA ATLEE
As if Tuscan food needed an introduction, this is an evocative and beautifully written history of Italy through its citrus fruit. From 300 year old trees in the Medici garden to blood oranges on the slopes of Mount Etna, this is a mouthwatering journey through the art, travel, cooking and horticulture of Italy.
‘GIRONIMO! RIDING THE VERY TERRIBLE 1914 TOUR OF ITALY’ BY TIM MOORE
Tim Moore’s story of incompetence, inspiration and bold determination to ride the trail of the hardest bike race in history: of the eighty-one riders who started, just eight made it to the finish line through 400 km of storms, nail-strewn roads and the loss of an eye by one competitor. And all on a diet of raw eggs and red wine.
Please get in touch with us if you would like to join us cycling in Tuscany.