Art, Travel & Life in Italy & Europe


It’s finally Spring in Tuscany!

It seems cliché to speak of reawakening after a long Winter, but with the amount of rain we got this year, putting England to shame, even a slight glimpse of Spring is extremely welcome. Easter came early this year and for a few hours on Sunday morning here in Maremma, the skies cleared, the sun came out, and I found myself inhaling the fresh air and hungrily looking at all the trees in bloom, the super green landscape and the happy clouds. This was the perfect opportunity to test out my new toys, I mean tools of my profession: an iPhone 5 (finally) and an external 3-in-one lens called an Olloclip. I set out to point them anything that would stand still.

Spring is also, conveniently, the topic of April’s Italy Blogging Roundtable. When we decided this theme, nothing had really bloomed yet and I had planned to write about the reawakening of the city of Florence with a ton of exhibits. So after a little eye candy we’ll proceed to a short recap of those, below.

Nothing kicks off the summer season like a trip to the beach, which for us means Castiglione della Pescaia. Just three weeks ago we were happily snowboarding at Abetone, but now we feel quite ready to bring out the windsurfs (a sport we took up 2 summers ago just so I could report it for the Italy Roundtable, but we’ve been too lazy to do since… I swear we will again soon). The beach has yet to be combed of its winter debris, and the tide is too high to walk for long…

A stop in the medieval town of Castiglione is de riguer. We’re far from the only ones walking up to the top of town for a view of the port and beautiful ocean.

With every wildflower in bloom I can’t resist getting up close and testing the macro function of my Olloclip, with which I am seriously impressed. The only challenge is finding things that aren’t moving or being blown by the sea wind… I did manage to catch a bug in a rosemary plant…

We also stop for a photo of the canal and bridge at a nearby natural reserve. [Just a technical note on this photo – it’s frustratingly out of focus on the right side because I am using an app called Pro HDR that does a brilliant HDR as long as you can keep perfectly still. But the wind blows strong in Maremma… the colours would be nothing if it weren’t for the app, but I need to find a faster HDR solution!]

Back up in Sticciano I snap a few shots from our piazza that overlooks the whole upper Maremma valley before heading in for lunch; I know it will rain again in an hour or so and I can’t let these clouds go unrecorded.

Next week I’ll be back in Florence again, where even in the city, in the few glorious moments that it’s not raining, you can enjoy the warmer season with a walk outside, or the rainy moments with one of the new exhibits that have just opened.

An obvious candidate for an article on Spring would be the Springtime of the Renaissance exhibit at Palazzo Strozzi, which I reviewed for The Florentine. This show is an introduction to the very beginning of the Renaissance, with the sculptures made for the Duomo complex and Orsanmichele. At the Uffizi there’s a show on Spanish Mannerist artists in Florence that is worth a visit if you can get in there before the crowds do, and at the Medici Chapels there is a rather academic show on the life of Pope Leo X.

Italy Roundtable

The knights of the Italy Blogging Roundtable have knighted another female member, Kate Bailward of Driving like a Maniac. Elected for her spunky sense of humour, we hope you’ll take the time to read her thoughts, as well as the others’, on the topic of Spring.

By: arttrav

Alexandra Korey aka ArtTrav is a Florence-based art historian and arts marketing consultant.

  • Kate Bailward

    Beautiful photos, Alexandra. The Olloclip macros particularly shine – it’s hard to believe that they’ve been taken with an iPhone!

  • arttrav

    Isn’t it though?! (The Olloclip that is) thanks Kate, glad to have you join us!

  • Jenna Francisco

    The first signs of spring are one of favorites details of the seasons. I love spring here in NorCal and would love to experience it in Tuscany someday. Great photos, Alexandra. That Olloclip is something!

  • Miruna Corneanu

    Lovely place, lovely photos! I’m sure each season has its own charm in Tuscany.