San Casciano dei Bagni is a crevice of solace in the hectic course of our lives, a pool of lightness and intensity. Because, here, amongst these lands carved by the sun and wind, the head can seek rest from its troubles. Lay down your head on that town wall that hems in the piazza and looks out over the valleys; just leave it there to cleanse. And you’ll feel your thoughts emerge clear, smoothed by the freshness.
And yet, this is a place only agreeable in part, more often it is inclement,
uncouth. A place of wolves and wild boar, the cold, woods and twigs, rock, travertine and ravines, which still holds prisoner the cry of the peoples who have possessed it with their blood: the Etruscans, Romans, Barbarians, Longobards and Byzantines. A more refined, more dolled up, more domesticated Tuscany does exist, but not here. Instead this is a land of passage, rough, unadorned, ruvid like humble rags. There is little here maybe, for those accustomed to much; a few sulphurous fumaroles break the horizon at dusk like a demon’s phlegm. Yes, because this land is home to a demon, which hurls you ruthlessly before the wretchedness of your human condition. And yet, sometimes, unseen, you can reach out an arm and seize the immense, and feel it vibrate as human nature transcends to sublime heights.
But your cowardice is not allowed here. Neither is the silly fight to establish your supremacy. Here you are asked to yield, to lower your daily weapons against the world. Here we advance; this place is far stronger than all your willpower. Extreme things drag you before the extreme. So, if you believe you have been degenerated by civilization, if nature terrifies you like all matters that elude your meticulous control, if you fear nudity, the awkwardness of being, if you fear the souls of Etruscans who on June evenings roam restlessly as fireflies over the fields, then don’t stop here. If, on the other hand, you believe that a divine spark exists in the depths of humankind, then come here to seek it. You will find it one summer’s night as you realise you’re crying beneath the infinite wreck of the firmament.