Tuscany. A word that immediately conjures up an image of timeless wonders, fixed in the collective imagination. Paintings of angelic renaissance figures with blonde locks and an aristocratic look. The red domes of majestic cathedrals. Rolling hills dotted with elegant cypress trees. But Tuscany is much more than this. Its wonders have so many ages and faces, perhaps less well-known but equally enchanting. Every corner, every path can offer at least a glimmer of wonder. To be experienced each day. As we climb aboard the new Multistrada V2, we set out to discover Tuscany in all its beauty. Its hidden, secret, unexpected beauty.
The New Art: Contemporary art in Tuscany
It suddenly appears as we travel a road that cuts through seemingly hand-painted scenery. A giant more than five metres tall, its body white and muscular, its brow furrowed, that emerges majestically from the soil. As if it has passed through the impenetrable walls of mud and rock of a distant subterranean world and, reaching its ultimate border, emerged in another dimension, another reality. This is one of four “Presenze” sculptures, created by Naturaliter and set down in different spots across Peccioli, in the province of Pisa.
“Presenze” is one of many contemporary art treasures hidden away along the region’s roads. Because the beauty of Tuscany is not only classic and peaceful, but also modern and provocatory. One essential stop for those wanting to explore new Tuscan art is Via di Mezzo, a road located in Ghizzano, a small village with just 350 inhabitants. The facades of the houses along this street have been painted by David Tremlett, an English artist who brings the colours of nature to the walls of Via di Mezzo. The many green, ochre and brown tones, highlighted with red stripes that frame the doors and windows, transform this corner of the village into an artificial landscape in which to immerse yourself and truly revel.
Saturnia, well-being is in the water
And then there’s the Tuscany of well-being, which strengthens the body, regenerates the mind, and relieves the spirit. Its symbol are the thermal waters of Saturnia, located below the ancient village of the same name, nestled in the heart of the Maremma. The Cascate del Mulino, with their thermal pools and springs that offer beneficial properties, are magical, mysterious, and enveloped in a soft cloud of sulphuric steam. Immersing yourself in their waters is an almost mystical experience, and even more so at night; as you sink into dark and silent nature, absorb the warmth of the Earth and let yourself be caressed by the pale moonlight, you will find yourself tapping into the ancestral energies that impregnate this magical place.
Pienza, the timeless charm of the Middle Ages
And lastly, there are the medieval villages of Tuscany. A more well-known Tuscany perhaps, which we expect to see. But it’s one thing to imagine it and quite another to experience it. And when we find ourselves there, among the rocks and lanes of a place frozen in time and suspended in memory, we forget our expectations and remain simply open-mouthed, amazed by the wonder. Of the many, many villages that elicit this response, Pienza is one of the most enchanting. Located in the beautiful Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pienza has all the flavour of a fable, with its ogres, fairies, heroes, and minstrels. Its charm is medieval. From the fairy-tale historic centre to the Cathedral, from the Town Hall to the Palazzo Piccolomini Museum, right down to the Archaeological Museum, everything hints at a distant era, but is still able to touch the heart. And then, surrounding the village, the pleasant Tuscan countryside. To be enjoyed in the saddle, so as to fully experience all the emotions of a journey that reverberates with wonder.