One mention of Tuscany brings to mind meandering cypress-fringed roads winding their way through fields of sunflowers and olive trees; it is synonymous with old shuttered farm houses and vineyards carefully tendered in perfectly straight rows; and it recalls the typical Tuscan village, all built from crumbling beige stone, with a cosy central piazza and at least one church and campanile ringing out the hour. And these visions of a bucolic paradise are not merely the things of dreams. On my recent weekend in Tuscany, I was lucky enough to ride along the meandering cypress-lined roads, walk amongst vineyards and visit not one, not two, but three stunning little Tuscan towns, all three of which demand a photo essay all of their own.
In this first, I introduce you to Campiglia Marittima, a hill top citadel just inland from San Vincenzo on the Tuscan coast, benefitting with views not just of wide Tuscan planes, but also of the coast towards Piombino and beyond the island of Elba.
This was my first trip to the town, and in it I found the very typique of a Tuscan settlement. Little squares on whose benches the elderly locals lingered chatting in the shadows; consistently charming houses, all built with stone and with windows shuttered in either green or blue, small little cafes creating a bustle in the central square, gently undulating cobbled streets and stairways leading up and down the steep hillsides on which the town is clustered. For photography the town was a gem of a model. Each street offered a multiple overlap of charming features – a distant hillside, an iron street lamp in front; either side quaint window shutters and in the foreground plants and multicoloured flowers grown in every shape and size of pan, can or pot.
Campiglia Marittima is the very epitome of Tuscan charm, but in the great chocolate box of Tuscany’s multiple offerings, this was a sweet caramel delight in a box of plenty. Come back tomorrow for another of Tuscany’s idylls.
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