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Summary of A Year in TUSCANY
"A tale of reality, history, landscape and art."
History, art, gastronomy, monuments, images: these are the elements that dominate the impressions of Barbara Athanassiadis in Tuscany, where she spends the four seasons of the year painting her watercolours and discovering the hidden treasures of one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Her excursions through the vineyards in autumn give her the opportunity to let her imagination roam free and to transport us to the unique landscapes that surround her.
Her winter walks through Florence and Siena are an extraordinary exhibition dedicated to the world of Art.
Her spring excursions in her Beetle to the medieval towns open her eyes, and ours, to the traditions of the place, which she critiques with her own Mediterranean influences as to how Tuscany was viewed by the English during the Grand Tour.
In the summer, she leaves for Maremma, virgin land within Tuscany, where she lives through the stories and legends of its people while at the same time taking a step back to look at the Etruscans. She makes quick stops to local restaurants to taste the delicious, traditional cuisine allowing us to share in her meal of sliced bread seasoned with olive oil, ravioli al pecorino, and pappardelle in rabbit stew, all flavored with herbs and cheese and washed down with a glass of the famous Vin Santo.
Her travel story, written from the heart, clearly shows that she is charmed not only by the peculiarities and traditions of the region, but also the hidden details of everyday life. It is these little details, an unknown aspect in the daily life of Tuscans, which surprise her and never fail to charm.
"Through the images, Barbara Athanassiadis writes a lyrical text, in which Tuscany, the noblest of the Italian lands, is celebrated in all its splendor. Centuries of human effort have changed the original natural fabric creating a landscape on a human scale that has no equal. I should add that I would like to read the text in its original language but it was not possible, since I do not know it. However, the translation, beautiful, with a fluid language, charming and persuasive, allows me to assume that the original text is of equal beauty: the cases in which the translations have been able to overcome the originals can be counted on the fingers of one hand, in more than three millennia of the civilization of writing."
Professor Fabrizio Lemme, Academy of San Luca - Rome
"The pages of your books are like paintings that a painter paints in real time, while living, capturing the moments - not just spatially but also through the sensory nuances that give color to life. The choice of Tuscany, over other colourful Italian regions, only reinforces the passion and the materiality of the feelings generating chapters, paragraphs, lines, words ... "
Roberto Castellucci, Painter
"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 colors so vivid that they transpire, despite everything, in the watercolors striving to surge from 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 harboring the sources of elixir. For this is what Tuscany is all about."
Yiannis Spaveras, Greek Writer
Athanassiadis Barbara is the author of eleven novels, including three travel narratives on Italy: "A Year in Tuscany" (2007), "Feeling Rome" (2009) and "My Venice" (2014), which make up a trilogy on three major Italian cities of Art. She divides her time between Athens and Rome.
Author's website: https://barbaraathanassiadis.com