Where next? That’s the big question when you are on the road. Before I could answer, I had to go back to where I feel truly nourished on all levels.
Earlier this year I left my job. Then I had a severe flu. Time for a change of scenery. We booked the cheapest ticket – to Bologna – and hired a silver Fiat Panda at the airport.
This was not just some Under the Tuscan Sun schtick. All my life and work has been about taste and smell. When I don’t feel good, everything tastes bland – I seem to need flavour like a photographer needs light. On the road to Tuscany, avoiding the main roads, we stopped off at a worker’s bar for lunch and a carafe of wine. On the first day, the taste of the simple pasta with tomato sauce had tears well up in my eyes. It was then I realised how much I needed to be here.
Driving along the autostrade with the windows down after an oversized lunch – pasta and ragu, a meat dish and then one course too many – the question doesn’t rattle around the brain so much. Just drive onwards and you can never be lost in Tuscany. Eventually there will be a sign back to the main autostrade.
We arrived at sunset to the stone shack in the mountains of Mugello. Thirty minutes’ drive north from Florence, it is a wild and natural place with rushing streams and unpaved roads. And the roads do twist through the countryside: driving upwards at a tilt where you can’t see around the bend of the road one metre ahead of you because of the tall grass.
When we arrived, the family who owned the place gave us a bottle of fizzy white local wine and a slab of pecorino.
Driving south from the Mugello, past Florence, past the hills of Chianti, down to the area where you find the textbook Tuscany row of black-green cypress against the pale velvet green hills. Even through the windscreen wipers swiping away the big drops of rain, it is drier here in the southern parts of Tuscany. We were on our way to Montalcino.
After eating my weight in pasta in Tuscany, I am starting to feel myself again for the first time in years. I have some cool projects I am working on but it is still under wraps – you can’t imagine how much I want to tell you! – so stay tuned on my twitter page for more.