Italy was a place where art was part of daily routine. It was in the fabric and facades of the buildings and in the way towns and villages. Aestheticism was instinctive, a common trait, as if it were one of the senses. Artfulness was ubiquitous, from the wrapping of one’s purchases in a shop to the arrangement of food on a plate.
The most common word in the language appeared to be bella, which prefixed everything from the morning espresso to the design of a dress. Great effort – and great importance – was placed on how things looked. Tuscany’s landscape was the ultimate expression of this. It was the view that travellers dreamt of, composed who knew how by diverse hands over centuries.
It even smelled wonderful, of clean air and woodsmoke, of rosemary and new leather, of frying garlic and pungent parmigiano.
Taylor, Alan F.. Appointment in Arezzo: My Life with Muriel Spark (Kindle Locations 859-865). Birlinn Ltd. Kindle Edition.