When you reach the cradle of Buonconvento at twilight, it enchants and fascinates you like a dream. Its solid 14th century walls, illuminated in certain sections, stand beneath the bell tower of the church of Saints Peter and Paul and the authoritative old tower whose clock pronounces the hours.
Bonus conventus is rich in history, of sacred art treasures, of liberty style villas enhanced by well-crafted gardens, dotted with constellations of daisies come springtime. Parish churches and castles, masterpieces of architecture, beckon to visitors. The community’s roots are in the sharecropping tradition, in the succession of the rhythms and colors of the seasons—elements that transform the calm countryside between the Arbia and Ombrone rivers.
Fertile and abundant valleys helped foster the community’s growth on the ancient Tuscan portion of the Via Francigena: Etruscans and Romans left behind their traces, and even the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII of Luxembourg knew something about it—though it led to his demise here on the night of August 24, 1313. A pearly moon overhead reminds us of the story of Giovanni Boccaccio, who tells us of the poet Cecco Angiolieri’s misadventure in the Decameron.
Attracted by the landscape, you’ll enter into the side streets where light and shadow weave together intriguingly; where you’ll hear the echoes of the past along the medieval cobblestones; where you’ll seek out an osteria, eager to delight your palate with tasty dishes prepared by patient and loving hands, using simple and essential ingredients like bread and oil. You’ll find hope in the scent of the sought-after Crete Senesi white truffles, which grow under the shade of poplar trees, from the silver-tinged leaves which blow in the breeze during the hot summer evenings.Your host hands you a cutting board lined with delicious cold cuts, cheeses and the honey so dear to Zeus himself; from the menu, you choose from a variety of game, thinking about how best to bring out the flavor with a good red vintage. That enveloping fragrance makes you feel the instant comfort of home, and satisfies that need for conviviality which was so central to the experiences of past pilgrims and wayfarers. It helps you recall the sacredness of religious rites and of paganistic sociability, of memory.
When the first autumn mist makes the downtown borders disappear, the woods in the area catch fire with colors and the land plowed with hard work and sweat comes forth looking like an embroidery piece put together by the farmers who still love this area. It’s a hospitable land that transforms into a territory of the soul -evocative, dreamlike-and it opens you up to an oasis of peace and light.