Before I’d ever traveled to Tuscany I’d heard people talk about the region’s special kind of light – a light that has allured travelers and artists (particularly painters) for centuries.
I didn’t understand – couldn’t have, really – what they were talking about. I tried to imagine it. Was the sun somehow brighter? More golden perhaps? More diffused? I mean, why would the light be any different in Tuscany than in any other part of the world?
Now that I live in Italy (just on the border of Tuscany and Umbria) I understand what they mean about the light.
Of course it’s not just in Tuscany that you notice the light. The light obviously knows no borders. Throughout Italy’s mountains and hills and valleys and seashores the light is something special to behold. Yet it’s the light of Tuscany that attracts the travelers, artists and photographers – more than most other regions of Italy combined.
Over the years I’ve contemplated why, and I keep coming back to how light creates vivid contrasts in the skies and the particular landscape of Tuscany.
Shadows of white, puffy clouds tumble across green hills and valleys, while dark storm clouds billow over parched, brown fields. The evening sun – deep and golden – pulls long shadows from bales of hay, while the morning sun – sharp and intense – dances with swirling mist in the forest. Hillsides striped and dotted with olive groves, vineyards and cypress are a playground of colors and tones and the elevation of medieval hill towns and castles adds to the drama – whether you’re looking up or looking down.
The light is undeniably dramatic in Tuscany, always creating contrasts and always a head turner. It’s alluring, and I know for sure that I’m smitten.
If you’re interested in capturing the light of Tuscany on canvas, be sure to join our workshop for plein air painters with Kelly Medford next June. You’ll be painting in both Rome and Tuscany. What’s not to love about that?
Pamela Haack is the founder of Off the Beaten Strada, where she creates and hosts small group tours that are a combination of the very best of Italy: the exciting and the peaceful, the popular and the secret, the talked about and the never-heard-of-before. From art experts and operettas to authentic cooking classes and ancient Etruscans, Pamela helps visitors experience the spectacularly beautiful, endlessly interesting cities and countryside of Italy in an up-close and personal way.
She is also the author of Top 10 Favorite Etruscan Sites, as well as her popular blog, Off the Beaten Strada in Italy.
Pamela lives with her husband, Lou, in Umbria, Italy.