At dusk I jogged along a sandy road in a secluded nature reserve outside Bolgheri in western Tuscany. A family of bristly boars came charging out of the underbrush with their tails upright and momentarily froze with a wary glare before rambling away. I saw a couple of deer grazing behind dappled trees alongside an estuary dotted with herons. A fat hare sat partly hidden nearby in a tree trunk.

Soon after, I passed through a pine forest, following a path through the dunes to my final destination: the emerald Tyrrhenian Sea. This was the Tuscan coast in August, but there was no one else there, apart from a gray-haired man fishing. I swam in the gentle waves with the sun hanging over the horizon.