The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

A Walk to Remember

Posted on | April 16, 2012 | Written by Janice Cable | No Comments

When I was in Italy last fall, I took a walk in the woods with Laura Gray of Il Palazzone and her children. These weren’t your quotidian woods, however; these woods were poetic. Purists may argue that all woods are intrinsically poetic—“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree,” they might argue—but rather than merely being figuratively poetic, these woods were literally poetic, sprinkled with sculptures and word poems and fairly laden with something akin to fairy dust.

It’s a weird thing, this American artist Sheppard Craige goes to the middle-of-nowhere Tuscany, to a town called San Giovanni d’Asso (also known for being the fine home of one of two of Italy’s truffle museums) and over the course of a decade with a bevy of artist palls slowly transforms this rambling bunch of acres into something that resembles a deserted fairy land. In The Bosco della Ragnaia there are stones etched with single words, giant striped posts that resemble nothing so much as pick-up sticks waiting for a game, geometrically laid out mossy formal gardens that look like the happiest post-apocalyptic landscape ever, and various metal things that swing from the boughs of trees.

There’s one part that’s lush and green, wet and mossy, overgrown and hilly. You walk down a path that dips like a dive into a pool, and at the bottom you find levels mounted to a board and the word “fruscio”—rustle—carved into stone. There’s another part that’s yellow as Tuscan grass, and it’s less enchanting. It looks like an especially well planned entrance to a department of motor vehicles.

If you go—and I suggest you do, and while you’re at it, go to any of these other fine Italian sculpture parks (Italy does sculpture parks well)—refer to the rules and remember no “rumori molesti” or smoking. You can visit the Altar to Scepticism all you like, but you can’t smoke there.

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