[By James Hobbs in Siena, Italy.] Immediately after the USk symposium in Manchester, we headed off for a family holiday in Italy, and to meet up with the elder daughter, who had been inter-railing through Europe with friends. In ways, Manchester is the kind of place I prefer to draw – a dose of gritty, post-industrial urbanism always gets me going – but it is easy to be lulled by Tuscan hilltop villages and landscapes filled with olive trees and vineyards. In Siena (above) we sat in the Piazza del Campo, the gently sloping medieval arena that echoed only to the sounds of voices and footsteps…
… and then joined the crowds and the queues in and around the mesmerisingly striped cathedral, the Duomo, which still exudes a kind of modernness that we recognised when we last visited it as students in the 1980s.
We travelled around rural Tuscany in our hire car, finding rivers to swim in, village bars in which to rehydrate and shelter from the sun, and quiet, out-of-the-way restaurants. Most people, it became apparent, had headed to the coast.
We were well back before the news came of the earthquake in central Italy, for which the death toll continues to rise. We send our thoughts and best wishes to those who have been affected by it.
There are more Tuscan drawings on my blog, found here.