Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places
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In Hidden Tuscany, acclaimed author John Keahey takes the reader into a part of Tuscany beyond the usual tourist destinations of Chianti, Florence, and Siena. The often overlooked western portion of Tuscany is rich with history, cuisine, and scenery begging to be explored, and Keahey encourages travelers to abandon itineraries and let the grooves in the road and the curves of the coast guide your journey instead.
Follow Keahey as he turns off the autostrada and takes roads barely two lanes wide to discover fishing villages along the Tuscan sea. Then move inland into rolling foothills adorned with cherry orchards, ancient olive groves, and sweeping vineyards that produce wines that challenge Chianti's best. Here it is still possible to follow the paths of Romans, Crusaders, and pilgrims from throughout the western world who were eager to reach Rome.
Hidden Tuscany provides intriguing images of places such as Livorno, a port city with canals; Pietrasanta, Tuscany's Citta d'Arte; and Capraia, an island formed by volcanoes. Keahey engages with the inhabitants of these enchanting landscapes, whether sculptors who toil in marble studios or residents whose own memories and traditions illuminate major moments in world history.
From coastal towns to vineyards farther inland to the Tuscan archipelago, Keahey reminds us that each village, city, and island has its own unique story to tell. For armchair travelers and vacation seekers alike, Hidden Tuscany brings a new side of this classic Italian region to life, and the result is mesmerizing.
Michelangelo arrived in Versilia three or four centuries later, had devolved into ruin. There are walkways through the archaeologically revealed stones of Luni, which is now located just over the Tuscany boundary and in the modern region of Liguria. The paths lead to what must have once been the water’s edge, a good mile or so inland from the Magra’s present mouth. Over the centuries this coastline filled in bit by bit, generation by generation, much like the Mediterranean mouth of the Arno
small crust of warm bread with a small slice of lardo melted on top. Delightful. But too much of this delicacy, I felt, could stop my heart cold, unless I was engaged daily in quarrying stone. * * * Carrara may produce highly sought-after marble in a market that will last for many decades longer, but the bulk of the artist community is primarily centered close to Pietrasanta. The foundries and shops may have moved out of the town center, but they are not far away. Still, those wonderful
other Allied units in place to stop any German effort to head south again and retake Livorno. Ultimately, however, the plan for a major shift to France was abandoned. A few units that had participated mightily in the Italian campaigns, from Sicily to Rome, were moved to Marseilles, but most of the Fifth Army remained along the Arno. In fact, as the Italian conflict progressed, at times some Allied units were shifted from France back into northern Italy, where the war would continue along various
town’s name apparently has outlived its political relevance and has been dropped. After a few hours at the bar, I continued on south. Via Aurelia goes through a succession of beach communities that could each be a major destination for a traveler wanting camping, bed-and-breakfast accommodations, or even a multi-star hotel experience. As elsewhere in the region, July and August are the months with the most crowds, which makes it difficult to find lodging for the night. I stopped at a few places
Etruscan port, while all other Etruria sites were located farther inland. Etruscans certainly had tombs in the area around Orbetello, but an Etruscan wall on the peninsula was unlikely. I tend to believe the nineteenth-century British explorer George Dennis, who wrote that predecessors to the Etruscans put these walls along the town’s edge, perhaps an early people known as the Pelasgians. Ancient Greek writers believed Pelasgians were ancestors to the Greeks and perhaps the oldest people on