The beauties of Tuscany are as much natural, inherent in the landscape, as they are man-made, by the great artists of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. We know the cypresses from the modern landscapes of Italy just as we know them from the paintings of the Renaissance.
As Pomona heaps her bounties on a blessed region so the chefs and winemakers have created a gastronomic paradise from her gifts.
Yet it was not always obvious that this region would become such a desired corner of the old world. Europe had turned her back on her illustrious past for so long that her classical heritage seemed lost forever. Italy was in a state of turmoil, dominated by external European forces, and the once central point of Tuscany had become underpopulated and marginalized.
The unique situation of the central Italian States at the start of the fourteenth century gave rise to a new class of citizen who gave voice to the values and virtues that were to lead us in the West towards an ideal concept of human endeavour. A new economic climate allied to a rediscovery of the classical values of secular learning permitted a break with the religiosity of the Middle Ages so clear and permanent as to become known as a Rebirth. These secular lessons, concerning political statecraft, personal integrity, civic duty and a commitment to beauty, enabled a new consciousness to emerge that valued virtù over all things and hailed the resultant meritocracy as the new nobility.
Travel through this famed land on foot, a physical act that would have found favour in the quattrocento. Rediscover, as did our medieval forebears, the dawn of our modern western values – rooted firmly in the antiquity from where they sprang – at a time when perhaps more than any other in recent history we have good cause to look back at their foundations. Our appreciation of physical beauty, both natural and crafted by human, will be stretched to new limits whilst our appreciation of those that made this renaissance possible is reaffirmed.
The very name Tuscany conjures up a region of fabulous wines, aromatic olive oils, delicious pastas and succulent meats, plus stunning views of rolling oak-studded hills and fertile valleys, fortified castles and magnificent churches replete with priceless art treasures. Our accommodations include a medieval palazzo in tiny Radda and superb hotels in an ancient castle as well as whole hamlets that have been beautifully restored. We also stay in a fine medieval mansion in the heart of Siena.