What draws one to a place? What is it that sticks in the mind when one visits somewhere and makes one think either - I must go back there again or I enjoyed that visit but don't need to go back?
Sometimes it is memories of the place. I will never tire of visiting Lincoln Cathedral and looking in various nooks and crannies for familiar objects, and admiring the Bishop's Eye window, and listening to the choir practising in the chancel. Why? Well I went to school close by and we had many art lessons sitting in the cloisters sketching; my brother was heavily involved with the cathedral for many years and is buried in the cloisters; and I could even see the cathedral, sitting as it does on top of the only hill for miles around, from my bedroom window when I was a child.
Sometimes it is just one memory. If you were to mention Sicily I would immediately think of poppies. When we went a few years ago, every grassy area seemed to be covered in red poppies and the memory of those takes precedence over the ruined buildings, impressive as they are.
And so I come to Arezzo. My grand-daughter has just been to a wedding in a village close to the Italian town of Arezzo. The moment she mentioned the place I was back in the square, waiting for the Basilica to open at ten o'clock so that I could see the Piero della Francesca frescoes. More than five hundred years old, they sing like they were painted yesterday. I have searched through my computer for photographs of them to put on my blog today, but can't find them. However, I did buy a reproduction of one part because I thought it would make a really good basis for a fabric collage. I never got round to working on it but I often look at the reproduction.
Do places hold special memories for you? Bologna for a little back street cafe and a plate of Spaghetti Bolognaise; Balltimore for the harbour and Border's bookshop; China for the little, wizened old lady with her bound feet who sold me a flimsy paper windmill for the equivalent of a farthing and who was chastised by her neighbour for short-changing me by a farthing. It's the little things one remembers, isn't it.