Imagine the Sardinia forests, lush with hortensias, ferns, and dahlias. Wander the blossoming pathways for one hour, please.
When certain to be lost, stop. Close your eyes. Take in a deep breath. Fill your senses. Hold it.
Now open your eyes.
You’ve already arrived—as if you had gotten there by ferry or small plane.
But it’s your imagination that really gets you there. A certain transportive, sensory vibration in the soul. That long, deep whiff of something familiar —something you sensed long before you blinked your eyes open.
A trace; a scent; a hint of Italia in the breeze.
One breath is a necessary reminder of a simpler life. Maybe even a better life. It’s a lighthouse that guides your way.
The details of this particular adventure unfold during an Italian autumn flown from Sardinia to Siena (and every stop in between). They are interchangeable. Whatever you want them to be. You just need to give yourself to it. Flow into it.
Consider this your olfactory tour of Italia in the fall.
Sardinia: Salt-Tinged Herb & Wood
While Sardinia’s crystalline blue waters evoke a vision of minted cleanliness, just one dipped toe will tinge your senses with a light, salty freshness. The aged wood of the docks will greet you when you walk up the shore. A pinch of salt-speckled herb, over dry wood approximates the scent of this sun-soaked utopia bounded by aromatic forests.
Venice: Saffron, Frankincense, Cardamom, and Myrrh
There’s a comforting scent that lingers down the alleys and pathways of the City of Canals that harkens back to a golden age. When Venice was a hub for the spice trade. Walk down the narrow streets lined with bicycle shops and 87-year-old antique stores, and the ancient blend of saffron, frankincense, cardamom, and myrrh will find you—along with some undertones of cedar and resins.
Amalfi Coast: Citrus and Wild Orchids
You may catch a passing whiff of the Amalfi lemon trees in fruit as you whisk by in your Fiat 500. Then, stop by any storeowner’s window and let the glorious umbrella of wild orchids shade you for a few. You may find yourself breathing newer, deeper breath.
Capri: Iris, Jasmine, and Bay Leaves
Autumns in Capri are a lot like a tingling ocean breeze. Every wind of air carries with it an aroma like a mix of iris, jasmine, and bay leaves. With every waft of whistling air, it’s hard not to fall in love—with the place, at least.
Siena: Grapes, Sandalwood, and Tonka Bean
Siena in the fall is an intoxicating ode to Tuscany’s harvest. In late November, a trace of fresh fruit (including grapes, of course) will be left in the soil. At night, after the rains, the brick walls are warmed with the residue of sandalwood and tonka bean that came in from the Belvedere fields in the north.