When I arrived in Maremma four years ago, along the road to Grosseto, the thing that struck me above all else was the vast expanses of Sunflower fields. That yellow so unique, unmistakable, almost hypnotic but at the same time energizing and relaxing. This morning those thoughts returned with a gentle force in my head as I drove along a road in the hinterland of Grosseto, heading to the set of VVT Channel for an interview with a formidable artisan. I was enraptured by an expansive and endless yellow bush, a true wonder of nature… “but yes I will be a few minutes late…I enjoy my Sunflowers.” I stopped the car and entered another dimension. And is it perhaps because of the great ability to make the viewer forget everything, creating a magic of sensations, that Sunflowers have been, the most beloved flowers of the greatest painters of all time, at the head of all Vincent Van Gogh? I invite everyone to see one of his most famous paintings from 1889, kept in Amsterdam in the Van Gogh Museum and belonging to a series of 7 works depicting a bunch of Sunflowers inside a vase, made to decorate the room Van Gogh had prepared, in the house in Arles for his friend Paul Gauguin, which is part of a series of 7 paintings dedicated to Sunflowers.

Also peculiar is the significance of Sunflowers in Greek mythology where they symbolize the nymph Clytia who, seduced by the god Apollo, the Sun King, could not take her eyes off him and followed him from afar on his long journeys across the sky. The god, however, at some point abandoned the nymph for another woman. Clytia therefore stood still in a field, continuing to watch him, until her legs became roots and she turned into a sunflower, motionless but with the ability to continue to follow her lost love with her gaze on his path from morning until evening. This may sound like a sad tale. Instead, it is the opposite, because Sunflowers represent in symbolism, fidelity and perseverance in love and the desire to spend the rest of one’s life with one person, although its most classic meaning remains that of sunshine, cheerfulness and liveliness.

Before resuming my journey… one last bit of trivia. Not everyone may know that May 1 is not only the holiday dedicated to workers, but since 2007 it has been the day dedicated to Sunflowers. It is an anniversary created by the British, who on this day plant these special yellow flowers in all their neighborhoods, especially in particularly run-down places, as a sign of life and rebirth. Happy Tuscany to all.