It is the silence that hits you, immediately and without remorse.
Perhaps silence is the wrong word. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is not silence you first encounter but rather silence dusted with the caucophony of sounds otherwise unheard by the unrelaxed and un-Tuscan ear.
The intermittent and almost musical creek of an unlatched iron gate;
Then nothing but the warm breeze from the distant Mediterranean.
A fig drops on the gravel, ripened; then no sound at all.
A few bees, noticeable burdened by the day’s pollen collection hum past in unison; again, nothing.
There’s the gate once more, letting out a long metallic yawn; now nothing but the breeze.
Far off on the horizon a mountain range is being battered by a storm. The rain is clearly visible from this castle’s high vantage point. But clearer is the rumbling thunder in the distance. Just over the mountains and past the storm is the Sea, where shortly the sun will silently set.
But here to the East, a hundred endless miles of rolling hills and flowing vineyards dip and crash like every shade of green waves, without a sound.
Except that flock of small birds that just burst from a vineyard below like flying fish from the sea. For a moment they chirped, then dove back under.
And now, more silence. The breeze stopped.
The iron gate might’ve latched itself. The birds and bees are muffled by the vineyards that lie in wait for the upcoming harvest, pregnant with hearty fruit.
The silence and the sun are comforting, like slippers on a cool terracotta floor.
Even with a clear mind, I can’t remember the last time I could hear myself think so clearly.
The sound of silence is the sound of clarity and the sound of Tuscany.
But what is that smell? It’s herbal and sweet, peeking yet another of my senses.
Ah, must be the abundant and overflowing bushes of rosemary that ring around this poolside garden vista. They are everywhere on the castle grounds - down the stairs from our luxurious room; in-between the frequent fig and plum trees; dotting the underbrush beneath the olive groves that grow within the castle walls. Tuscany’s version of Eden, protected by a Medieval fortress.
Here we enjoy very few sounds, but the sights and the smells are unforgettable.