Italy is arguably one of the top most desirable travel destinations in Europe. Mouth watering cuisine, sunny days are aplenty, and every cobblestone has a history – just to name a few of the things that make for an irresistible experience.
Most of us had daydreamed about Tuscany and all the internationally renowned localities that have been designated World Heritage Sites – the historic centre of Florence; the Cathedral square of Pisa; the historical centres of San Gimignano, Siena and Pienza; the Val d’Orcia, and the Medici Villas and Gardens.
That being said, the most recognisable image of Tuscany, that comes to mind, will always be the pastoral Tuscan landscapes with its vineyards and villas scattered over the hills.
Pastoral, as a word, is an adjective that means ‘associated with the country life’ and in that sense it is the antonym of urban.
The term derives from the Classic Latin noun pastor ‘shepherd’, with the adjective relating to the tending of livestock or spiritual care.
Liber Regulae Pastoralis or Regula Pastoralis (The Book of the Pastoral Rule, commonly known in English as Pastoral Care, a translation of the alternative Latin title Cura Pastoralis) is a treatise on the responsibilities of the clergy written by Pope Gregory I around the year 590, shortly after his papal inauguration, and the first source to mention the word in its meaning of the book on the care of souls.
Pastoral, to name the occupation of one involved in the care of livestock, was recorded circa 1550 in The Complaynt of Scotland, and the meaning of relating to land or countryside used for the pasture of livestock, and the meaning of ‘relating to the countryside’ appeared in Ann Radcliffe’s The mysteries of Udolpho (1794): “The pastoral landscapes of Guienne and Gascony. Fruits, cream, and all the pastoral luxury his cottage afforded.”
It can be also used as a mode of literature, art, and music that depicts life in the country or that of a shepherd in an idealised manner, typically for urban audiences; and a pastoral is a work of this genre, as recorded in Extracts from the accounts of the revels at court, in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I from 1584: “A pastoral of Phillyda and Choryn presented and enacted before her Majesty by her Highness servants on Saint Stephens daie”, where the pastoral in question is a song first given in the honourable entertainment to the Queen’s Majesty by the Earl of Hertford during her visit in Hampshire.