Marie-Laure Valandro takes the reader on both an outer and an inner journey of discovery by way of the grand, living museum of Western history and tradition, Florence, Italy. Wandering the streets, cathedrals, and museums of Florence and the surrounding towns of Tuscany, the author gives fresh life to the Florentine painters, philosophers, poets, and architecture of bygone eras, while showing their relevance for our lives today.
Letters from Florence is much more than a travelogue; it takes the reader on a personal journey to inner landscapes, ancient and contemporary, through the author’s own words and those of philosophers such as Goethe and Rudolf Steiner, the verse of Dante, and seventy of her evocative photographs.
Regardless of whether one has visited Florence, the insights that Marie-Laure shares in Letters from Florence offer food for the mind and soul while entertaining the reader with the her observations and encounters, as well as her sometimes humorous critiques of modern Western culture and the spirit of our time.
was born in 1948 and spent her childhood in Bourgogne, Morocco, Algeria, and Bretagne. At fifteen, she moved with her family to Boston, where she received a B.A. in modern literature, romance languages, and education and taught in the Boston public school system. Later, she moved to Vermont, and obtained an M.A. in literature. At twenty-three, Marie-Laure returned to Paris to study at The Sorbonne, to teach and to travel around Europe to various Christian Holy sites. She later moved to Tehran to teach technical English and to tour throughout the Eastern world, studying Sufism, Zoroastrianism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism as seen through the eyes of its believers and through visits to holy sites. Marie-Laure returned to the United States to care for her son. She lived in the community of Wilton, New Hampshire, where she first encountered Anthroposophy. She ended her school teaching to care for her daughter, son, and husband, a medical doctor. Meanwhile, she continued to travel and trek in South America, both alone and with her children. Later, she moved to Wisconsin and began the Liane Collot d’Herbois training in painting. On her family farm in Wisconsin, Marie-Laure uses biodynamic methods and has developed master gardens, vegetable gardens, herb gardens, and an orchard. She has also established a painting studio, where she creates large veil paintings. Recently, she moved from Wisconsin to a post-and-beam house built by her son in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia. Her goal is to continue walking across this beautiful Earth, meeting people with love and sharing her journeys in meditative books, sprinkled with insights from Rudolf Steiner’s works and the many talented students of his teachings. She continues to make large veil paintings to “heal people and spaces.”