Strawberry Fields in Tuscany.
By Claudia Trotter.
The first day of an Italian spring always feels the same. As we say goodbye to the darkened chilly mornings and biting breezes of Winter, Spring dawns on us quite unexpectedly. We flip over our calendar page and roll into the new month, and a new sense of vitality slowly but pungently envelopes us. Spring awakens a new colour palette. A distinct smell in the air when you open your shutters in the morning. A familiar sensation on your tastebuds as fruits finally come into season. A lingering presence of the sun’s rays as we bask in the extra hours of evening light. A surreal assault on each of our senses.
You spritz yourself lightly with your favourite summer scent Need_U, by Marie Duchene. Perfect for today's adventure. The opening notes of citrus and lemon lightly dance with the mid notes of white flowers including Jasmine. Delicate and perfectly balanced.
'Buona mattina'! You are torn between that all too familiar feeling of wanting to sleep a few minutes longer and pushing your body out of your sheets to begin your day. Well luckily, you’ve got a day planned that you do not want to miss. That waiter who served you in a quaint little pizza restaurant a few weeks ago has planned a romantic trip to the Tuscan vineyards and you cannot be late. The butterflies are beginning to erupt inside your stomach as you try on a million different dresses, eventually choosing the very outfit you began with. He doesn’t have to know that though!
There’s a gentle knock at your door and your blood pulses inside your chest. He picks you up in a minty coloured vintage Volkswagen, the panels are so faded you wonder what other adventures it has been on. In true gentleman style, he opens the rustic door of the passenger side and seats you comfortably down before revving the engine and rolling out of the narrow driveway.
You completely lose track of time. Soft acoustic music is humming inside the car as he drives you slowly through the shaded leafy roads. There’s a real buzz in the air which surrounds the both of you and you let your hair gently tangle in the light breeze that is coming in through the fingerprinted windows. The gravel road is lined with paddocks completely filled with sunflowers, yellow and beaming as if they were sprouting out of the ground to say hello. An alluring smell of pollen mixed with the warm wind fills the inside of the car. Your eyes aren’t quite sure what to focus on- the vineyard in the distance that is apparently the final destination, the large oaky trees that now branch out over the top of the car, shading you just perfectly, or the waiter’s face, tanned and young looking with rosy chapped lips and huge tiger-like hazel eyes, accentuated by the shadows of the lush foliage.
You stop off on the side of the road at a small, rickety old lemonade stand to quench your thirst. Your white silk skirt blows innocently in the breeze as you get back into the car for the final stretch. Finally, you’ve arrived at the vineyard. He reveals the surprise- it’s a strawberry picking kind of day. Inside his boot he has two straw baskets with a linen cloth inside of each to put the fruit in. The vineyard is immaculate, bursting with bright red berries clinging to either sides of the spiky vines. You traipse down the aisles, a little spring in your step, plucking off the strawberries one by one and eating a few too many along the way.
You are surrounded by spring in every way possible. Adjacent to the strawberry field are lavender bushes that carry a distinct smell straight to your nostrils. A light humming of the hundreds of bees swarming the flowers fills your ears, close but far away enough to not alarm you. Your throat suddenly feels dry as you notice him uncorking a tall thin bottle. The sun is beating down on your shoulders now as the clock signifies the afternoon. Not an aggressive heat though, just enough to feel warm without the presence of goose bumps. Except for the ones he is giving you.
Your basket is overflowing with green topped berries and it’s time to take a rest in the shade of the terrace at the edge of the vineyard. He pours you a glass of deep Italian red, churned out that very week from the winery down the road. Your pickings for the day are the ideal combination of sweet and juicy, a perfect snack for the afternoon to keep you going until dinner. On the ride home, your mind aimlessly wonders. Where might the next spring escapade be?