The modern human has many bohemian aspirations, living on a desert island just off the Caribbean, setting up an organic farm in Provence or guiding groups of ramblers through the Himalayas. However, for many, the notion of someday finding a quiet place overlooking rolling fields, dotted with cypress trees and ancient farmhouses in Tuscany and spending long, sunny afternoons writing memoirs, and even the odd novel, about their bohemian Tuscan experiences must feature quite near to the top of that dream list. Few but the very richest amongst us have actually been able to realise this modern dream and turn this puff of pipe smoke into a plausible reality.
However the coach-loads of tourists that still descend on this sacred and mysterious land to spend a summer hiking around it, or even to invest their life-savings in actually buying an old farmhouse house prove that it is, in fact, still a plausible possibility. A more unlikely and slightly less plausible eventuality would be that two of these bohemian pipe-dreamers should someday actually meet, by complete chance, and, over a pint of Guinness, actually discover that they had some rather uncommon… common ground between them, especially that of writing books!
Well, this is exactly what occurred to two Englishmen one day, deep down in the heart of Tuscany, near Chianti, Tuscany’s famous wine-producing region, noted for it’s unorthodox and bohemian attitudes. Curiously, this unlikely meeting did not take place over a glass or two of fine Chianti Classico (Chianti’s famous red wine). Instead this particular pair bumped into each other over a pint of Celtic brew - Guinness in an Irish pub in the centre of Tuscany’s peaceful, rural city - Siena, a city which symbolises everything that’s Tuscan about Tuscany.
Both of these particular budding authors had no idea that their paths were due to cross and that their literary talents were set to become one of the literal success stories of the year! However that is indeed what occurred between Dario Castagno and Jonathan Radford one afternoon while enjoying a hearty, black Irish stout in the heart of Tuscany.
Dario, born in the UK to Italian parents, but having grown up in Tuscany had capitalized on his perfect command of the English language, just one year previously, by writing his detailed yet controversial account of years spent guiding groups of tourists around his beloved Chianti. Jonathan, having finished reading Dario’s book right there in the pub just moments before Dario’s arrival could not quite believe the coincidence of finding himself face to face with the author of the very same book, just moments after having just finished the final chapter, right there in the pub!
Curiously Jonathan Radford had also just finished work on his first book about his own life, dedicated to designing gardens from childhood, which had taken him from England to the heart of Tuscany, to that very barstool, in that precise moment of time! Jonathan, who had been searching for a publisher for his line’s could not turn down the opportunity to put forward his own manuscript. Dario, who had been searching for original titles for his growing editorial company accepted gladly the offer to read the rough manuscript of the account of another Englishman, dedicated to creating natural beauty with plants.
Just a few weeks from this chance meeting in an authentic Irish bar in Tuscany the two books A Green Existence and Too Much Tuscan Sun were soon on sale all over Italy and both became the literary curiosity of the year! This obscure example could serve to prove that it really is possible to accomplish even the most unlikely of pipe dreams with some good old fashioned determination, a touch of…good Tuscan (or Irish) … luck and a hearty pint of Guinness, when the mood takes you of course!
These books are available from most airports, bookshops