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Comment on "A Year in Tuscany"

Published on 04/12/15 in Reviews

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Whenever, in my life, I have longed to get away from the trivialities of everyday routine, there has been but one way: to travel. I have therefore come to adore the whole process, this moving about, the searching, the longing that precedes the revelation. Because all this brings me closer to the nostalgia of going back home. And then, on, again…

It is precisely this “on, again” that embarked me on a “travel” I took last summer, while still moving about on personal matters, through a book. Reading through its 20 chapters, I felt the gratifying effect of images deploying before me, filling my soul, overwhelmingly opening a true window! “Hungry” as I was, I let my palate relish tasting the local flavours, the aromas of olive oil and wine. “Impatient” as I proved myself to be, I gained in the knowledge that, like keys, came to unlock so many of the questions I have had on Art. “Hurried” as I confess I was, I found myself giving in to the relaxing effect of this writing that soothingly let me in on the secret of some little masterpieces – gems scattered all around Barbara Athanassiadis’ book A Year in Tuscany. Rather than seeing, I was invited to look at the process of this gradual discovery of so crucial a region, reading through the descriptions this book so lavishly contains – a search through the soul of a person in quest of one’s place and time and an answer to some specific moment of one’s life…

A crossroads that was to become a catalyst and a redeeming factor for the author, mostly whenever she chanced on ways other than the road maps suggest. That was the way for her to reach her own Dante at no toil, following his uphill path, now that catharsis has happened.  The contemplation of the unfamiliar was hesitant and yet that was how her soul reached the familiar.

With time and disposition as her allies and, above all, her thorough knowledge of Italian  Renaissance Art, Barbara Athanassiadis offers a journey along which I came to learn exactly what to look at, not just to feel what she herself may have achieved, but mostly to attain a conciliation with style and culture, the two natural companions of any wanderer. The painter that she is allowed for certain strokes of her brushes to go astray, much to the benefit of the rest of us!  Secret nuances and mixtures of colours so vivid that they transpire, despite everything, in the watercolours striving to surge through the pages of her book.

The numerous references to Art and the reports of talks she had with several people she has met throughout her life, not just dwelling in Tuscany, have admittedly made me richer and definitely strengthened my resolve to revisit the region harbouring the sources of elixir.

For this is what Tuscany is all about.

I wish to express my gratitude to Barbara Athanassiadis for this journey. Like a sip of Brunello, that delectable, unique wine of Montalcino, her book is far from inebriating by assuaging the desire: rather, it stimulates the palate, awakening the longing for the next sip.

I leave my windows open for her forthcoming book on Rome.

All the best for Tuscany!   

Yiannis Spaveras, Travel Writer    

The eBook A Year in Tuscany, illustrated with colour images, is available on:

Tuscany EN print frcover 7 sm 2

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