The day was winding down. Exhausted, we stopped to rest in the piazza in Colle di Val d’Elsa, a small, seemingly forgotten medieval village between Florence and Siena in Tuscany. With very few tourists, but an abundance of charm, I wondered why this sweet place had all but fallen off the map. This Italian town, held up by its medieval roots and still clinging to its 19th century Bohemian identity, is now producing 15% of the world’s crystal.
It was here, in the piazza of Colle di Val d’Elsa, that I noticed him – an old man slumped over his transistor radio. He was alone, with a small red poppy held gently between his fingers and the sounds of the soccer game flowing from the speaker. He was carefully dressed, his face sunken from the loss of teeth. I watched him, fabricating my own story for his life. Every few minutes he would lift the poppy to his face, inhaling the memories. I wondered of who he was thinking. His beloved? A child?
There he was, alone, with his memories, a poppy, and the distraction of a soccer match. Camera in hand, I shot from the hip, hoping he wouldn’t notice. He looked up, caught my eye, and held it for an extended moment. I felt I had intruded enough, and I moved on, holding only my photograph and this memory.
Find out more about touring Tuscany with us at Capturing la Vita Tours!