The decision has been made, the finances committed and the amount of time has been negotiated. You are going to Tuscany and the only question left to answer is when. When would the best time be? I could spend a couple of paragraphs reveiwing the merits of each season and perhaps convince some of you that spring is preferred over summer or that summer may be the most exciting time to go because of the hordes. With that many people about something interesting is surely bound to happen. But I wont bother. I will simply announce that autumn is truly the best time to go.
Autumn is the only season that has elements of all the other seasons combined into its character. In the hills around Mugello you can experience an entire year in just a day. The mornings can have a damp chill in the air with the cloud hanging low and heavy. As the sun rises it burns away the fog and the days opens up blue and clear. The air warms steadily throughout the morning until it is time to find some shade from the steady rays.
The sun sweeps across the valley throwing one side of it into shadow. The temperature drops and there rises from the earth a musty smell, the smell of things growing, things grown, the smell of spring . It has the fragrance of all things possible.
Autumn is also the paymaster of the year. It is then that the rewards of the previous months effort are collected. It is a time of abundance and joy. The markets in the villages and towns are loud and boisterous and filled with every variety of vegetable, fruit, nut or cheese. Dried sausage and salami hang from hooks under tents filling the air with their spiced fragrance.
The restaurants are preparing seasonal specialities throughout the region. It is the time of traditional menus, the food that has sustained generations of Tuscans through lean years and mean years and years of plenty. When you share in the harvest you share in all the old things, the things that have made it through time, the things that work.
The faces you see as you walk about are local faces. Most of the tourists have come and gone and have taken with them what was put out for them. What remains are the hidden treasures that the inhabitants keep for themselves. They share these with the lucky few interlopers that happen to be there by fortune or by design. For you it would be a bit of both. Fortunate to be able to go and by design because you chose this moment to do so. Timing is everything.