When in Italy, it pays to wander. The famous sites are amazing, but never resist the urge to follow a path, just because it is beautiful. One of the loveliest walks in Italy can be found in the Tuscan Countryside, in Cortona, home of Under the Tuscan Sun. I found it entirely by mistake.
When Frances Mayes’ book became a movie, I fell in love with it, as did the entire world. One of my favorite lines in the movie is its last.
“Unthinkably good things can happen, even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.”
Italy is full of surprises. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Cortona on a group tour excursion with my mom, friends, and some high school students.
As I helped my mom speak to a shop keeper (he spoke no English), my friends went into a café and we lost each other. So, I walked, determined to find the wall where Frances sat to write the postcard. I walked right past the wall and the café in the movie, but did not recognize it.
The path continued to lead up, and up, and up, through private gardens, laundry lines, and cypress trees. I rounded a corner and a ray of light struck a tiny alter. It brought tears to my eyes and I knew I was not alone in my walk on this peaceful Sunday morning.
Music and bells began to ring up from the churches down below, and again tears filled my eyes. I eventually reached the church on top of the hill, and could hear the service going on inside.
For a long time, I stood there, gazing out at the lush Tuscan landscape, listening to the music of the nature, hymns, and bells.
Moments like these will change a person. They always come to mind and make you smile again, even on the darkest of days. Joyful memories reminding us that yes, “unthinkably good things can happen.”
So, when you go to Italy, see the museums, the ancient wonders, the beautiful churches, but always give yourself time to follow where the path leads. You never know what joy, what beauty, what life changing moment may be waiting for you at the top.
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Lindsay Sinko, PFI Travel, USA