As you approach the hilltop on which the village of Pienza was built (1459–1462) during the Italian Renaissance, the garden plots and vineyards that soak in the sunlight on the hillside first capture your vision. Then, the distinctive features of noble homes, the Cattedrale dell’ Assunta and Piccolomini Palace begin to reveal themselves. Travertine columns, portals and façades reflect the soft light of Tuscany and curved arches outline windows and doorways. On closer inspection, the streets and architecture of Pienza begin to look vaguely familiar, as you realize many of these scenes were backdrops for The English Patient, the 1996 movie that won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
Approximately 5 miles north of Pienza is the little medieval village of Castelmuzio that dates from the 9th century. Its ocher yellow walls overlook the green valley of the Trove. Just opposite the village is the monastery of Sant’Anna in Camprena. This serene Romanesque compound with a Renaissance chapel was also featured in The English Patient.
It’s easy to imagine yourself living the Renaissance life as you stroll through the streets of these villages; and all you see is near-perfect subject matter for photographs that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. The carefully conceived lines and accents of the architecture are bathed in the special illumination of Tuscany, helping you create images that will challenge and elevate your photography skills.
Tuscany also touches the Tyrrhenian Sea, presenting a quite different atmosphere than the interior valleys and their quiet villages. The focal point of your journey is the Maremma Region and specifically Monte Argentario that sits just offshore, but accessible by a number of roads. Here, you can enjoy the same sea breezes, marvelous sunsets and seaside relaxation that attracted ancient Romans and Tuscans. Find a quiet spot in the park in Porto Ercole, sit in any of the outdoor cafes to breath the delicious night air or spend the evening dancing or attending a concert. The nearby town of Orbetello is a favorite among the younger crowds, so expect a livelier celebration. Reserve some time to visit Porto Santo Stefano, which is a more upscale resort area, with a nightlife that is exciting and colorful.
Of course, a journey into the heart and soul of Tuscany would not be complete without spending time in Florence. Although it has been 600 years since the Renaissance brought a new era of enlightenment to the Dark Ages of Europe, your first view of Florence, with its domed cathedrals and bell towers, will reveal why the great artists and thinkers flocked to this place to find their muse. Prepared to be dazzled, but always have your camera ready, as you enter the Pizza del Duomo and approach its great cathedral. The Galleria degli Uffizi houses the world’s grandest gallery of Renaissance art and the Galleria deli’Accademia is where you can stand before Michelangelo’s “David” and marvel at its majesty and perfection.
All these places and so many more await you and your camera when you join other Tuscany lovers for the trip of a lifetime: the “Through a Tuscan Lens” Tour hosted by Linda Bass and Tuscan Muse. Choose either week 1, October 13–20, 2013, or week 2, October 20–27, 2013; or make it a grand tour and stay for both weeks.
Either way, you will receive exceptional service and guidance from Linda Bass.
“I just returned from a two-week photography workshop in Tuscany hosted by Tuscan Muse. With Linda Bass as our tour leader, her Southern charm and nurturing personality helped to make Le Casacce feel like a ‘home away from home.’ The changing skies, the light and the amazing, panoramic views of the valleys and the architecture will never be forgotten. The photographs that I shot in Tuscany are my best yet and I have been a photographer for many, many years. The bountiful breakfasts and four-course evening meals were a memorable experience. Enrico Casini is an artist in the kitchen. His meals are perfection. Together, Linda and Enrico work every minute to insure the best of everything is yours. I highly recommend spending time in Tuscany through Tuscan Muse.”
“You did an amazing job of keeping things together. You are, indeed, my new organizational hero. Congratulations, Linda, on pulling off such an amazing accomplishment.”
Your home base for this outstanding trip will be Le Casacce Country Estate, a restoration of a Tuscan farm, olive press and winery of the 17th century. It overlooks the peaceful Orcia Valley. It may be reminiscent of the glory of the region more than 400 years ago, but you’ll receive 21st century service and the best local cuisine prepared by the masterful chef Enrico Casini.
Invite 3 friends to accompany you on the “Through a Tuscan Lens” Tour and you’ll receive $200 cash upon your arrival. With 10 or more referrals, your tour is absolutely free. Click here for more information about the incentive program.
You’ll find complete tour information when you click here , but you’ll want to book your spot and refer your friends just as soon as possible because the registration deadline is September 15, 2013.
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