Nearly 10 months ago I started to have this burning desire to return to Italy where I studied so many years ago. I began researching the studios and schools I had become so familiar with when I first made the journey in 1999 to study the art of stone sculpting. It seemed as if the trip would never arrive and yet today is the day.
Having gone from the dry desert heat of Arizona where life struggles to survive and into the lush, green plethora of rolling hills and valleys of the Tuscan region is a welcome shock to the senses. The elongated, dark green beauty of the larger than life cypress trees presents a constant reminder of this ancient land and its rich culture and history. There is a constant melody in the air as the birds are chirping in tune with Mother Nature herself. The smells one comes across in this land range from the sweet scent of jasmine vines growing upon Tuscan villas to the delicious aroma of garlic roasting as dinner is prepared lovingly for a family gathering. I begin to feel life slowing down as I embrace the Italian art of living "La Dolce Vita" ("living the good life").
I begin my approach into the City of Pietrasanta, an old Etruscan city, known for centuries for its ancient art of stone carving. Before coming upon this village, I am suddenly flooded with memories of having first been to this oasis 16 year ago. I recall feelings of being wholeheartedly elated and bursting with dreams, creativity and ideas for sculptures as I am enveloped in the force of creativity surrounding this area. The knowledge from all the artisans that flock to this stone carving mecca from around the globe is unimaginable. My skin becomes covered in goose bumps as I walk the alleys and narrow streets eventually passing the very apartment where I had first stayed in student housing.
Having made my way to the quaint hillside villa where I will be staying for the next month, I explore the property and learn more about my surroundings. I awaken early the next morning to the gentle fall of rain. I ponder upon this new adventure of having returned to this ancient land. My senses are alive and blossoming at the possibilities ahead of me. What will this time of creativity be like? The anticipation of sharing ideas and thoughts with the likes of other passionate and creative filled beings is set before me.