Centuries of human history and thought, from the Etruscans to the Renaissance, from the Roman ruins to the austerity of the Middle Ages and the Franciscan spirituality that survives today in mountain hermitages: all this may be found in Tubbiano, where you leave yourself for a little while only to return and find yourself renewed.
The names of places often have a lot to say about their history.
The name Tubbiano is said to come from two words that originated with the ancient Romans, if not from even older Etruscan or pre- Italic civilisations: Tuba Ianus, the tuba of Janus. The Roman tuba was a long wind instrument, like a sort of bronze trumpet with a long, straight tube; it made a piercing, low sound which the Roman legions used in battle to incite their soldiers to attack, or to signal impending danger. Janus was an ancient divinity who did not come from the Greek pantheon, but derived from the archaic cults of pre- Roman Italy: the god of transitions, of thresholds, both tangible and
intangible, such as the door of a house or a bridge, but also a metaphorical transition from one dimension to another, from one
world to another. The god of beginnings and endings, of historical and mythical time, and above all the god of movement, of travel. He was represented with two faces, or two heads, looking in opposite directions, watching over entry and exit.
It is said that in Tubbiano, a place dedicated to the god or transitions, the tuba was sounded as a warning of imminent
danger. The house dominated the nearby city of Arezzo, and it is easy to imagine that from this outpost on the road up to the pass, horns might have been sounded to warn the city of the arrival of enemy troops, or simply of foreign caravans in arrival. It was, in fact, a place of passage, and remained such for centuries, until it grew into a little village with its own church and farming community in the Middle Ages. Wheat and legumes were planted, but it was above all a land of vineyards and olive groves. Tubbiano had a population of over a hundred in 1796, when a terrible earthquake shook Arezzo, razing to the ground the homes of dry-stone construction and straw. Only one wall of the great church remained standing, and only one house survived: the one we live in today. Tubbiano then became a hostel, a stopping place for pilgrims and wayfarers on the road to the Adriatic Sea or the Franciscan hermitages of the Casentino. A healer renowned throughout the area lived in the house at the end of the nineteenth century. The legendary Rosina treated the sick with medicinal herbs she collected in the forest, and healed their wounds with ointments and poultices only she knew how to make. Following the two world wars, many of the fields lay fallow; the forest took over the land again, and we can still see the ruins of the ancient stone terraces amidst the oaks and age-old chestnut trees. This is virgin land that has never been treated with chemical fertilisers or pesticides, watered by little springs hidden in the undergrowth, where roe deer and wild boar, badgers and porcupines come to drink, and the wolf has now returned. The history of Tubbiano is, as its name suggests, a story of transitions. This is a place where people come to stop, and then go on, resuming their way renewed in both body and spirit, stronger and more serene.