17 April 2008

Tuscany & Umbria

I'm currently reading "The Lady in the Palazzo ~ At home in Umbria" by Marlena De Blasi (author of 1000 days in Venice). She and her husband Fernando had recently left San Casciano in Tuscany and moved to Orvieto in Umbria. I really like her writing and quote this part:

"Tuscany and Umbria sit side by side, and yet, Tuscany is, by far, the more beautiful sister. Long-ago hands grappled with the rock and stone of her, smoothing luxuriant earth into elegant, intimate proportions. With sympathetic mist breezing about pink sand hills, Tuscany is a tender, watercolored place christened in wine and oil, sitting pretty to await her company. Umbria is the rough one. Her land is less tamed, if tamed at all. The vines that drape her hills are pruned less artfully, and even the color of Umbrian sheep seems darker, of a more barbarous breed. Umbria is the one so ancient she can seem barely birthed, unfinished, still becoming. The melancholic one, older than time. The who warns, Take me as you find me. And as there are differences between their atmospheres, I think, too, there must be between their manners. By the only Tuscans I've known with any degree of familiarity have been farmers. Until now, the only impressions I have of Umbrians are those so recently offered by the Orvietani. And between these two groups lies an impasse too vast to consider, beyond any regional measure. There is everything to learn. As I have always, I begin the learning at table." (page 85)

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