Tuscany and Puglia, Italy

The photographer Jim Orme provided the details and images for this destination.

From June 1 through June 15, 2013, I attended two one-week photography workshops in Italy. The first week was in Tuscany south of Florence and the second week was in Puglia, the heel of the boot that is Italy.

“There are few places on earth like Tuscany. Its landscape is the landscape painted by the great artists of the Renaissance. Its architecture is known for its sense of proportion, beauty and attention to minute detail. Its people are distinctive, friendly and resilient. Its light is soft, enveloping and revealing.”*

We stayed in Pienza (Renaissance architecture) and made day trips to explore these Tuscan towns: Civita di Bagnoregio  (town accessible by foot only), San Quirico d’Orcia (medieval streets and architecture) , Castiglione d’Orcia (valley views), Siena ( “Italy’s most beautiful hill town”), Montepulciano (“dozens of Renaissance palazzo and churches, odd-shaped squares and corners and, of course, a Duomo”), and Montalcino (birthplace of the Brunello di Montalcino wine). We visited the gorgeous Abbazia di Sant’Antimo, “one of the most beautiful Romanesque structures in Italy”. We also visited the Altesino Winery and the Il Cacio di Ernello Cheese Factory which makes the locally famous pecorino cheese from sheep’s milk.

Generally the mornings, late afternoons and evenings were the best time to photograph the Tuscan countryside, though even in the midday the light was generally nice. We had rain one day that cancelled a trip to a formal British garden. We could use that time, though, processing images.  I expect that interesting photos could be taken at any time of the year in Tuscany.

The second week was spent in Puglia where, though the light is not as beautiful, the subjects are very interesting. There were castles guarding a harbor, hotel rooms and restaurants in caves on a cliff-side, and buildings with cone-shaped roofs made from rock without mortar. Due to the distances between towns we would drive to a town one day and stay two nights, photographing the full day and working on images the rest of the time. The towns we visited were Matera (hotel rooms, stores and restaurants located in caves), Alberobello (cone shaped roofs on houses), Otranto (15th century Aragonese castle overlooking the bay), Lecce (“ornate architecture and over-the-top Baroque monuments”), and Ostuni (dazzling whitewashed buildings on a series of ascending levels against the green of the surrounding area).

Though a summer visit to Tuscany would be good, it would be very hot in Puglia; so I recommend visits to Puglia be limited to the other Seasons. It was beginning to be hot when we left in mid-June.

I found it helpful to take tours to minimize the time needed to research where to go, for convenience in travel between locations and to enjoy the friendship of my fellow photographers. Information on the tours I took can be found at www.photographitaly.com. At the end of each week we each prepared slideshows. Mine can be found at:

http://www.photographitaly.com/slideshows/2013/Tuscany/Jim/

http://www.photographitaly.com/slideshows/2013/Puglia/Jim/

It was a wonderful photographic experience with interesting people and an excellent workshop leader.

*Note, statements in quotes are taken from either the tour descriptions or the tour itineraries.

 

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