I was born in Puglia, a land I adore. It was there that as a child I dreamed of destinations to reach and of great travels. At the time, traveling the world, was my one and only and greatest desire, so much so, that when I was asked the usual question – the one asked of every child in the world – “What do you want to do when you grow up?” my answer was always the same: “…travel and learn about the world.” Indeed then, it was, but the first trip, the one you never forget, was the one I took at the time I was in middle school, to the legendary Mazzini school in Taranto. Where, of course, in Tuscany. That was the first time I saw Florence. Literally thunderstruck. I remember, walking with my classmates on Ponte Vecchio, I told them, “I want to live here.”  And so it was. I left Puglia and went to Florence, the city where I would first live on my own, where I would be formed as an adult, and which would stand by me and comfort me in the choices that later led me to live abroad for many years. I lived on the top floor of a beautiful historic palazzo, with a spectacular view of the Piazza di Santa Croce. Florence and Tuscany I call my magnets, because ultimately wherever in the world I am, they bring me back. I have been back for five years in Tuscany. This time first for a year in the beautiful Val d’Orcia and then in Grosseto, where I still live, in Maremma.

 “Maremma!” How many times have I heard this exclamation. To express surprise, disappointment or to reinforce a concept. Some people think, it comes from the Latin “Maritima – Maritime districts,” while others – I am among them – think it comes from the Castilian “Marisma” meaning “Marsh.” Let us remember that at one time this beautiful land of Tuscany, was a real hell, for years a succession of swamps, swamps and more swamps. Unhealthy air and mosquitoes and many deaths from malaria, until, in 1859 the reclamation began that turned the Maremma marshes into a place of life, a well-known destination for all. 5,000 square kilometers, including coasts, hills, valleys, beautiful landscapes, very long beaches, woods, pine forests, medieval villages… and a lot of history, culture and artistic beauty.

In this column of mine I will tell you about the stories of people and places that have made the region of Tuscany famous all over the world… I will try to give my small contribution to nurture and communicate the arts, artists and craftsmen of the Italian region most dreamed of by the whole world and Italians.