SideTripZ: Here Comes the Sun…Flowers!

While traveling through Tuscany in June, 2012, the driver was instructed to pull over up ahead, it was suggested that we get out our cameras….as we slowed down, I gasped…  I could hardly believe my eyes! What came into view was a SideTrip I’d been dreaming about and hoping for ever since I can remember…

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Sunflower…in Italian, girasole and in Spanish, girasol. Giro is from the verb girare, to turn or rotate, and  sole or sol is, of course, the sun. In French, its  tournesol. Tourner is to turn so tournesol is to turn to the sun…

To turn to the sun…I love that, don’t you? Sunflowers turn to the sun and so do we. We turn our faces to the sun seeking warmth and comfort…

Although we tend to think that the sunflower got its name from its cheerful appearance and sun-like resemblance, in fact, it is because they are always turning toward and therefore facing the sun. This unique characteristic has a scientific name, phototropism, and is responsible for the sunflower being associated with adoration and loyalty for centuries. Originating in the Americas in 1000 B.C., the sunflower was a food source and religious symbol for many native societies and when the Europeans came to the New World, the sunflower found new homes and new admirers.


Vincent’s “Sunflowers”

I’m not exactly sure how old I was when my deep admiration and affection for sunflowers began, but I do remember being very young and attending an exhibit of Impressionists at the De Young Museum in San Francisco with my parents. When I saw Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” for the first time, I was completely captivated and a lifelong love of sunflowers (and all of Van Gogh’s works) began.

Vincent’s painting of a bouquet of “Sunflowers” is iconic. The flowers are so dazzling and alive with vibrant color that, when seen in person, they appear to burst off the canvas.

I remember being inspired to plant sunflower seeds in my little garden plot and was astonished and thrilled to see that seed transform into a magnificent gigantic sunflower (much bigger than I) that could barely hold its head up!


Yes, that’s me among the sunflowers!

So, of course, when I learned that there were actually fields of sunflowers, I longed to see them. But my timing was always off –  too early or too late – so I settled for pictures and postcards… and hoped… But last year, driving through Tuscany, I was in the right place at the right time! There they were…acres and acres and acres of sunflowers in full bloom! I was delighted to be able to get up close and personal and pose with my dazzling friends.

With its sunny and cheerful appearance, the sunflower exudes good cheer and warmth. As we follow its gaze as it turns to the sun, the source of life and light…we know that summer is almost here. I can’t help but smile, can you?

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 Sources:, Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers” – Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

4 Responses to SideTripZ: Here Comes the Sun…Flowers!

  1. Laura says:

    Your posts are so well done and enjoyable. I really look forward to getting them. :-)

    • Postcards from Travel PiZazz says:

      Thank you, Laura!

      I’m so pleased to know you are enjoying my scribblings and actually look forward to them – the highest compliment to a writer!
      I always appreciate your comments and feedback…

  2. Ginny Dias says:

    Once again a joy to travel on my iPad with you. I have painted sunflowers twice now and one of them is my favorite all time painting. Thanks for the reminder…….xoxo Ginny

    • Postcards from Travel PiZazz says:


      How lovely to see your note! Grazie! I hope you have your favorite painting hanging somewhere now? So happy to share these “notes” with you – hoping to really be traveling together one day….maybe next spring? 😀


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