Early one Tuscan September Morning
As the summer slips away, I tighten my grip. The onset of autumn is charming in its way, but forewarns of bleak dark mornings accompanying each working day, whole swathes of time when you never see your home in daylight, chilly winds whistling through deserted streets, and evenings stagnating inside before a television with the prospect of much needed fresh but frozen air too perilous to consider venturing out into.
Of course the Mediterranean is not quite there yet. In Palma de Mallorca, the leaves on its elegant long art nouveau streets are slowly turning golden; even in Marbella, land of the sunshine, the pavements are a little more littered than normal with leaves. But in Italy’s Tuscany, the abundant fluffy pine trees have not changed their cloud like shape or their rich verdant green, the sun still shines a rosy glow upon large expanses of golden sand, the sea has to its waters a delectable warmth, and in the many vineyards the vines are hanging full to bursting point with sweet plump grapes ready for harvesting any day.
So when I had the opportunity last weekend to make a quick visit to my partner’s family living in the heart of wine-producing Tuscany, I was not about to say no. On Friday night we rushed away from work, boarding a two hour flight and arriving under the cover of darkness. Even then the clarity of the air and the audible swish of the sea told of a summer revisited. But it was the next morning when, waking up to the pastel-soft light of day, that we were able to fully appreciate this reconnaissance with the summer.
Outside our window, the most spectacular views of wide almost deserted beach greeted us. The sun, whose passage through the sky had only just begun, cast long peach-tinged rays across the freshly raked bronze-coloured sand, while beyond the beach, the sumptuous pine tree forests that make this town of Donoratico so famous, were clipped with sunshine as though sprinkled with glitter. Meanwhile before us the sea was almost like a mirror, so still, gliding into shore like a glamorous aristocrat of yeah 1920s, ambling into shore for the sake of glamour alone, no rush or fever, just languid self-contentment.
Despite being one floor from the top of our hotel, we ventured up to the hotel’s roof terrace where the throwback 80s style furnishings had me feeling nostalgic in an entirely different sense. And so with the early soft sun upon it, that terrace caused me equal fascination to the sea and forest views below, and is, accordingly, as much a part of this photo essay as the beach which enveloped us in dreams of the summer that September morning.
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