Travel

A Journey In Maremma, The Wildest Part of Tuscany

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I’ve postponed this moment for weeks.
I wanted to forget straight away about the wonderful time I had in Tuscany, where I spent my days in close contact with the most wild and unspoiled nature, surrounded by touching scenery and pure stillness.
I saved all the photos of this holiday in a hidden file, and told myself that sooner or later I would look back at them, but I needed some time in between.
The leaves in my garden have started to fall, while the autumn colour have appeared.
Sometimes, I find hard to remember even the most beautiful things, especially if they were particularly significant.

The belief that they will never be the same again, that they were unique and can’t be repeated, is a painful awareness. It’s better to keep enhancing ourselves with more new and beautiful things, without indulging too much on what has gone. But our subconsciuos let the memories re-emerge, maybe under different features, and when this happens, we can only realise how what we have experienced has become part of ourselves, our memory and feelings.
It was dawn and I was walking with my eyes closed in a wood of eucalyptus. I could feel the wet soil under my bare feet while I was breathing deeply the extraordinary scent that a wood of eucalyptus can have soon after a storm.

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In pushing away my slightly damp hair from my face, I could smell the so familiar scent of those little violet flowers I had in my hands. I had picked some, maybe to weave them into the garland I had in my head. As I was going further into the wood, the golden light was getting through the dense tangle of branches. The wood wasn’t eerie or dark. The eucalyptus white bark lighted up my footpath and I could feel it was a safe place to be, it would protect me.
“You must walk for a while without opening your eyes but you’ll still be able to see” someone had told me.
I walked for hours listening only to my footsteps and to the wind that made the eucalyptus’s long leaves move as if they were some little flags. While it was getting brighter, the rustle of the leaves was getting louder and I could hear the sound of water in the far distance.
Now, it was sand I could feel under my feet and I finaly understood were I was. I knew this shoreline well. Here, I had built a small hut made with some beautiful sea-smoothed tree trunks. There were so many of them brought by the waves and now they were scattered along the shore.
I could see nobody around but I knew I wasn’t alone. I looked around knowing that sooner or later she would arrived. She was here the last time, her eyes were round and lively as ever.
She had stopped for a moment to look at me walking nearby, then she had ran away into the wood. And now there she was, my little friend fox! This time she had come to greet me up to the doorstep of my hut. She had stopped for a few minutes to tell me to swim underwater, to the East and then she left without saying good-bye, but I didn’t take any offence because she always behaved in this way.

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The sea was transparent and a bit cold but I had waited a long time for that moment and I knew that only by diving into the water, I could find out what would happen next.
I swam for a long time in the direction the fox had told me. I was never able to open my eyes under water, they stung too much, but I could see everything, anyway….this is what I had been told. I was going so fast that I felt dizzy. I couldn’t see any single thing below …. blimey, I was flying!
The blue colour of the deep water that I was hovering over, was transforming itself in a thousand shades of purple. The landascape was very similar to the Venice lagoon at that time of the year when lots of violet flowers grow spontaneously on the saltmarshes and, for a moment, I felt a bit confused.
While I was fluctuating in the atsmosphere, I was also very slowly going down towards the violet fields.
“Finally I have found out the true colour of the atmosphere: it’s violet. The cool air is violet!” I heard him shoutting. And there he was, with his thick white beard wearing his creased linen suit, it was really him, Claude Monet! He was standing there, in the middle of the field, shaking his arms and waving at me to get down. I glided as light as a feather till I make a little jump into the violet bushes while Monet was laughing. He laughed a great deal. “In a few years, everyone will paint using the colour violet…it’s the colour of the century! Wait and see” he said happily to me.

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Which century? I didn’t have a clue where I was. Something had changed, time had stopped and I couldn’t tell if it was dawn or dusk. If it was summer or autumn. A strong wind was blowing and I was alone, now. In front of me there were fields after fields of golden grass, burnt by the sun.
Being alone had never scared me before, maybe because I’ve always felt fine about myself to fear of being left alone with my own thoughts. I liked to be there, face to face with who I was. I knew that everything was up to me to decide. I could have stayed there for good, looking at those huge white oxen standing in the middle of the landscape, motionless as if they were a mirage.
Everything else was far away. I think I stayed there for several hours, while the silence had made all sounds to stop, even the voice of my thoughts in my head.
A dreamless sleep, a sleepless dream.

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Then, a sudden noise or perhaps a gust of wind told me it was time to go because someone was waiting for me. I didn’t know the way to continue the journey and this was causing me some distress. God knows how I hate the unknown! … I always like to be prepared and to know how the events will turn out.
But I had been told before that life is not such a thing. It was time for me to be brave and keep going even if I didn’t know the way.
“You must have faith! Beautiful things will always come in your way!” I’d been told this, too.
And so, I started to run fast and the little violet flowers in my garland were scattered in the air. Then, there was the unknown: that long wooden bridge stretching over a sea of wild rosemary. There wasn’t much on the other side, only fields of scented shrubs and then the pine forest where the sun lit red the thick barks of the trees. It was there that I needed to go, I knew it now! And he was there; his hair was uncombed and his eyes were smiling and he was saying: “Have you seen the amount of rosemary there is here?! As simple as that, as if he had always been there waiting for me.
He took my hand and, without saying a word we went into the forest.
A light touch woke me up.
“Please, make me go back there… five minutes more, I beg you. I want to see what happens next!”

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We love these unspoilt landscapes and it’s where the photos for this post were taken.

  •  Parco Regionale della Maremma, Natural Reserve / it stretches along the Tyrrhenian coast. It’s a protected park of about 9800 hectars where there are some of the most beautiful coasts of the Maremma coastline. This area includes the mouth of the Ombrone River and the Uccellina Hills that descend along the coastline to the cliffs and sandy beaches, pine forests and pastures.
  • Marina di Alberese, beach / it’s a sandy beach in the park of the Maremma, at Albarese (Grosseto) close to the pine forest. Milions of sea-smoothed tree trunks run ashore on these coasts where it is also possible to see wild animals, such as foxes and boars.
  • Le Bandite di Scarlino, Natural Reserve / this large forest of about 9000 hectars is part of the towns of Castiglione della Pescaia, Gavorrano, Scarlino e Follonica. There are hundreds of footpaths and cyclepaths heading down to the beaches in the protected area of the Costiere di Scarlino and where there are our beloved beaches, such as Cala Violina and Cala Martina.
  • Cala Martina, beach / north of Castiglione della Pescaia coastline, in the bay of Follonica. It’s a small cove surrounded by the Mediterreanea scrub, with fine-sandy beaches and rocks smoothed by the crystal-clear waters of the sea.
  • Cala Violina, beach / it’s in the heart of the Natural Reserve of the Bandite di Scarlino, in the province of Grosseto, reachable only on foot or by bicycle along the coastline. This very small cove is in between two capes and it has a very fine sand and crystal-clear water.

 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Giorgio Barletta 16/01/2016 at 19:39

    Immagini splendide , belle da piangere terre da difendere con passione e ferocia !!

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