I recently had the joy of spending two weeks in a tiny stone house in the hills near Cortona. Every moring my eyes would feast on the exuberant beauty of this landscape.

From the point of view of a landscape designer, all the important elements seem to be poised in remarkable balance- agriculture alongside urbanism alongside infrastructure and the end result is intensely aesthetic.

Is this a sustainable landscape? Part of this blog intends to seek out define what that could mean. From one point of view, the Tuscan landscape seems to maintain the best features of its rich past while existing in the modern world. But this is not quite the picture it was in Etruscan and Roman times, when specific and vital realtionships to nature defined the structures we see today. Now one of the main economic motors at work in this region is tourism. And that is fine- preserving this region in an idealized state through a combination of strict land use and planning as well as touristic exploitation does ensure that some things, culturally important and beautiful things, won’t change.

I will be coming back to this post in the future to think and add more. Urbanism in Italy is a slippery, tricky, and beautiful thing. I will especially have to go back to the beautiful farmhouse in the hills near Cortona to see the hundreds of narcissus, tulips, muscari, and allium that Eric and I planted for our friend Diana and her mom Belinda.