Tuscany & Val D’Orcia – A Landscape Travel Photographers dream.
``The Creator made Italy by designs from Michelangelo.”
T uscany and the infamous Val D’Orcia region has been a mecca for landscape photographers seeking the Italian charm and creative inspiration that has fed the world’s finest artists, photographers, painters, sculptors, writers and even songwriters and musicians.
Vinci is the small town where Leonardo was born and grew up. Lajatico, in the centre of the region, was where the tenor Andrea Bocelli grew up and Puccini originated from the small town of Viareggio near Lucca in the North. It was good enough for Sting to move there from LA and for Ridley Scott to feel inspired to shoot many scenes for ‘Gladiator’.
I was fortunate enough to live in Tuscany for several years between 2005 and 2011 and it rejuvenated in me much of the photographic work I do nowadays and I still enjoy returning there and tramping over the very soil and paths, narrow Tuscan streets and rolling hills which inspired me to leave my post in academia and return once again to teaching and working in photography full time.
It was my first subject at Art School in the mid 80’s and while living near Lucca I made an expensive decision to dig deeper, learn more and further my passion in photography by studying for my M.A. while I lived in the land that has inspired and created some of the worlds finest artists. I graduated with my MA in 2010 and in many ways I owe a huge gratitude to Tuscany and what it was responsible for in assisting me in my professional and academic career.
Tuscany remains a place I am truly passionate about and I love to return there whether it be to take photographs or just take my wife and be a part of the Italian culture and daily life.
It may be a place you have yet to visit and spend time photographing. A week is never enough. You will visit and yearn to return. It’s easy to fly to (Pisa and Florence are just over 2hrs away) and wonderfully charming to travel around in.
Tuscany and The Val D’Orcia for Photographers –
Morning starts in the medieval town of Bagno Vignoni, in the Val d”Orcia, Southern Tuscany with coffee on the ‘terraza’.
The early autumn sun creeps calmly from its hiding place over the horizon, and as yet fails to burn back the misty morning milky latte froth from the undulating ancient hills.
Roasted brown cork oaks, and thickets of black poplar patch the deeper valleys and sharper slopes. Lines of ebony black cypress marshal themselves against the horizon. Ancient vineyards emerge not yet quite depleted of all their bounteous black and reds, and pale olive groves begin to glisten.
A shimmering parched tarmac road wends to and fro, and into the distance, joining beads of the nearby hillside villages of Radicofani, Abbadia San Salvatore, Montecchielo or Montalcino.
Dusty gravel tracks lead to stony isolated farmhouses and create inspirational visions of photography before you even pick up the camera.
Last night, we remember, the trestle table and family gathering, we were brothers together.
The food of plenty lay heavy under an open clear night dark sky.
There was song and laughter and everything that matters.
Our thoughts are stopped short by the first raggazo buzzing into town waspishly on his Vespa. Italian leather moccasins, white chinos, perfect blue shirt and dark Versace glasses.
He is style epitomized as he stops and chats to a dark curly haired commessa as she puts out the wares on the street display.
Style in symbiosis with the landscape. “Ciao “ and their business is finished and he buzzes along to the other side of the village.
This is the Italy of the Etruscans, the ancients of the Romans.
It is Italy of the medieval Florentine Medici with names like Lorenzo the Magnificent, and Piero the Unfortunate.
Time passes with a slow but human pace. You cannot be but inspired to take photographs to capture the landscapes and people, as has been done by artists for hundreds of years whether they work in paint, charcoal, words, or stone.
This region rejuvenates and stimulates the senses of any human with an ounce of creative energy in their body.
Early morning is a great time for the photographer.
- We can explore the perfect settings for colour and contrasts.
- We examine the wide-angle giant landscapes and fine detail of ancient stonework.
- We discuss composition.
On our journey we capture the lives and stories of the villagers on this Italian canvas.
Another trip is planned in Autumn 2019
Travelling to Tuscany is as easy as catching a bus…well nearly. I commuted between Pisa and Stansted and Glasgow for about 6 years while also driving the road north to Milan, through Switzerland, Germany and then over the channel but I’d advise taking the plentiful and cheap planes to Pisa or Firenze Amerigo Vespucci airport.
If you’re travelling to a ‘Photographic Journeys’ photography workshop, then relax I’ll be waiting at the arrivals.
If you’re travelling on your own, then it’ll be a hire car and a baptism of fire drive as you navigate your way on Italy’s infamous Autostradas.
Good Luck……I’d suggest you let me meet you !
Buon Viaggio e Ci Vediamo !