The fertile soil of Italy’s Tuscan Valley sits still this summer, the dry, sweltering heat rising stiff from the clay beds. This region experienced their driest spring in 60 years, with the sun mercilessly beating down and sucking out every last sprinkle of water.
As we weave through the dusty hills, holding memories of this season’s olive trees and grape vines, our taxi driver Ilario mutters to us but also to himself, cambiamento climatico. While the fertility of the Tuscan Valley, home to famous Italian cuisine- fresh tomatoes, juicy olives, and mouthwatering wine- has reached the many corners of the earth, we find ourselves longing and searching for the deep, lush landscape that we have heard through adoring whispers at home. Ilario takes extra time to show us the many towns of Val D’Orcia, telling stories of the families that once ruled these villages, the infamous quarrels, and the strong and subtle ways of life that have existed here for centuries. This land, despite the changing conditions, is highly respected, loved; a source of pride but also of identity, culture, and home.
The fountains of Rome run dry this summer. The forest fires burn in the south. Tuscany, with the immense beauty and history that it holds, is undoubtedly touched by the sting of climate change. The architectural achievements of the last thousand years still house Italians today, lasting through all types of weather. The question remains however, is there any land that is left untouched from the human-propelled consequences of climate change?
By Claire Stevenson-Blythe
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