Dante and Beatrice before ascending to the Heaven of the Sun, Giovanni di Paolo (attribution), mid 15th century, CC BY

'Almost every day, as I watch the expanse of the Park for Beauty unfold in the valley of Solomeo, I am as astonished and moved as the first time, and I immediately feel the spiritual benefit of such an experience. I like to think that there is a sustainability of matter and a sustainability of spirit. The former is the one we keep most under scrutiny, and rightly so, because to lack control of material things is not acceptable. However, at the same time I believe that spiritual values, while sometimes appearing less immediately to the senses, are no less compelling or important for the health of the human person, and for this reason I consider their sustainability as vital as that of matter.

When I’m at work and from a window I see the beauty of an olive grove in the distance, gracefully formed by the line of many arches that follow one another, or I admire a hill outlined by cypresses that are regularly spaced at the right distance, or I contemplate the gentle curves of a vineyard that follow an artistic idea, I think admiringly of music., which soars on the mathematical rule, and my mind goes to my esteemed Pythagoras, in whose opinion “number rules the universe”. How many artists, men of letters and philosophers over time have not emphasized this point? From the time of Plato, through all the medieval scholastic philosophy, and then in the Enlightenment, up to idealism, positivism, existentialism and finally to the present day, the usefulness of contact with something beautiful, be it a painting, a book, or a landscape, is the seed from which the tree of wisdom grows, that wisdom that the human being cannot do without for their best life, just like my life, my soul and, I am sure, everyone’s soul, improves when we are treated with respect and benevolence.'