It is not a lush landscape, nor is it tidy. Alongside rows of olives and grapes, the earth is scuffed-up and the grass snarled, wild and uncut. Small outbuildings appear abandon, and look to be slowly dissolving into the earth. Dust kicks up and settles over everything in the hot sunshine. Only the occasional dog barking breaks the silence. There is a somnolence that envelops everything, and creates a sense of inertia. Altogether, it should not reflect a sense of peace and abundance, but it does. The landscape fits like a well-made and beautifully lined garment, clinging in all the right places and disguising any and all unsightly bits and pieces. Your eye is drawn to dwell only on the glorious vistas, and the exuberant life that springs from that dusty scruffy earth.

It is an old landscape … the same fields of olives and grapes that we see today, appear in the background of almost every Virgin and Child or Adoration of the Magi painted during the Renaissance. Long-ago spires of pines are seen to stand vigil against the elements even then. And just as an exclamation mark adds excitement to a line of text, the lovely fingers of cypress add visual energy to the mundane world of olive trees and vineyards. It is as if time past has come forward to welcome you to Tuscany.