The quiet country roads, fields of poppies, groves of olive trees, and vineyards sloping down to the sea remind me of the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun.” My photos do not come close to showing the beauty of the area. The sun casts a golden glow on the tree tops, while the sea shimmers in the distance.
On 13 January 2012, the Costa Concordia ran aground just off the Giglio Island’s shore. Most of the more than 4,200 passengers and crew were rescued and taken to the island, as well as to the mainland. At least 30 people died and 64 were injured. The people of the island rushed to help, providing hot drinks and blankets, and many opened their homes to the victims. The removal of the ship has been a slow process, but is expected to be completed later this year. I was amazed as to just how close the ship was to the rocky shore.
After an hour long ferry ride, I reached Giglio Island, most recently known for the Costa Concordia grounding incident (more on that in a later post). The island is quaint and seeminly untouched by time. Giglio Island is an Italian island and comune situated in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the coast of Tuscany, and is part of the Province of Grosseto. The island is one of seven that form the Tuscan Archipelago, lying within the Arcipelago Toscano National Park. Giglio means “lily” in Italian, and though the name would appear consistent with the insignia of Medici Florence, it derives from Aegilium, “Goat Island”, a Latin transliteration of the Greek word for “little goat”.
To walk the streets of Orvieto is to walk back in time. This historic city, situated in the Paglia River Valley, began as an Etruscan center of commerce and prospered in Roman time due to its ceramics production. In 1354, it became a city of the Church Estate until 1798. After brief Napoleonic rule, i was finally annexed to the Kingdom of Italy in 1860. This rich historic comes alive as you walk the narrow streets.
While enjoying my morning coffee from the hillside villa, overlooking both the vineyards and the sea, it dawned on me that perhaps the reason Tuscany and it’s people are so wonderful is that they must wait. Not the impatient wait we often have in our lives…waiting in lines, waiting in traffic, or waiting to get paid. In Tuscany one must wait for the grapes to ripen and the olives to be fat with oil before work begins. Life revolves around nature’s clock.