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The Literary Legacy Of Tuscany

Desiree Michels

Visitors: 73

Tuscany as a region is inspirational, its landscape a mix of beautiful countryside and extraordinary cities each with their own rich history. The region’s vistas pack such a punch that they can in fact be credited as the direct inspiration behind the best works of some of history’s most famous writers, namely Dante, Goethe, Stendhal and D. H Lawrence. So why not book yourself onto one of the many available Tuscany tours and discover for yourself what creativity this incredible region might spark in you!

Dante and The Divine Comedy

The Florence born Dante is most famous for The Divine Comedy in which he describes a metaphorical journey through Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. (Don’t worry – Hell and Purgatory are not official stops on any of the available Tuscany tours). Dante’s depiction of Hell is said to have been inspired by a magnificent limestone gorge known as the Orrido di Botri, a site he first came across while staying in the Tuscan mountain town of Montefegatesi.

Furthermore, one of the Divine Comedy’s key characters was in fact based on an infamous real life individual, the count Ugolino della Gherardesca, who was imprisoned with his sons in the Torre dei Gualandi, still standing today as part of the Palazzo dell’Orologio in Pisa.

Goethe’s Italian Journey

It was not just Italian writers who were inspired by the beauty of Tuscany. German writer and statesmen Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote his Italian Journey after travelling to the region, experiencing what he would describe as a rebirth, living a life ‘exactly like a youthful dream’.

In his Italian Journey he would note that, ‘The most striking thing about Tuscany is that all the public works, the roads and the bridges, look beautiful and imposing. They are at one and the same time efficient and neat, combining usefulness with grace…’.

Thankfully many of these sites so enthusiastically described by Goethe still stand and when you choose from the range of Tuscany tours on offer, be sure to select one that will give you plenty of opportunities to take them all in!

Stendhal Syndrome

Also venturing from outside of Italy was Frenchman Marie-Henri Beyle, better known by his pen name Stendhal. Upon visiting Florence in 1817, so infatuated was he with the Tuscan capital’s beauty and cultural richness that he reported in his book, Naples and Florence: A Journey from Milan to Reggio, a ‘fierce palpitation of the heart’ and ‘constant fear of falling to the ground’, giving way to a condition known as ‘Stendhal syndrome’.

D. H Lawrence, Tuscany’s Lover

English novelist D. H Lawrence was an avid traveller in Italy and forged a special connection with Tuscany in particular, notably shown via his Sketches of Etruscan Places, which amorously captures the Tuscan people’s bond with their beautiful landscape. It was also in Florence in 1928 that Lawrence first published Lady Chatterley’s Lover, a vivid and later controversial piece of work that described the physical and emotional relationship between a working-class man and an upper-class woman.

The Perfect Muse

Whatever your profession, if you’re looking to be inspired in your endeavours you cannot go wrong with a trip to Tuscany. Follow in the footsteps of these famous writers and let your mind roam around the landscapes stunning country side and cities.

Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group Tuscany tours and experiences, from hiking and biking through the Tuscan countryside to unforgettable villa visits.


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