Few places in the world provide such rich experiences for all the senses than Tuscany. The light that enters the eye is warm and magical; the inviting sounds are those of a people who know how to live; the air fills the nostrils with a fresh and natural quality; the taste of the marvelous cuisine seems to linger forever on the palate; and the skin of the grape, the grass in the meadow and the touch of the sea is a timeless tactile sensation.
Tuscany is the one place that will excite you beyond all measure and give you pause to relax. Yet, it is not a two-dimensional canvas, but a three-dimensional world in which to immerse yourself totally – and these are just 15 of the places and events you must see, you must visit and you must photograph.
1. To capture the indescribable light of Tuscany at its peak, you and your camera must be in position early for the rising of the sun as it awakens the city, the village and the countryside in soft, pastel light. Then, as the day ends, find another perfect location to photograph the colors of the setting sun that are unique to Tuscany and the entire world.
2. Don’t just photograph the gentle landscapes of rolling hills, dotted with stands of lush cypress trees, from a distance. Stroll across them in the morning and evening light with your camera. Record the way the low sun illuminates the vineyard and orchard and look for the famous Maremma sheepdogs protecting and herding the sheep in the meadow.
3. If only for a few hours or a day become a part of the village life that truly reflects the spirit of the Tuscan people. Their hard work complements their love of life and they will greet you and invite you to share their lives with a warmth and hospitality found nowhere else.
4. Every village has a long and storied history that is revealed in its architecture, be it the ancient stones under your feet, the tiled walls at the entrance to homes and the simple churches and soaring cathedrals, some that have been standing and functional since the 8th century.
5. Schedule your Tuscany photography trip so you may enjoy village festivals. Not only does the wine flow and plates overflow with the excellent local cuisine, but also the people can’t sit still, as they must sing and dance through the streets, as flags and festive garlands flutter overhead.
6. Take your camera to the streets of any village during riposo, the traditional time for rest. The people don’t hide in their homes, however; riposo is an outdoor activity. The atmosphere may be more subdued, but it is also one of the best times of the day for excellent street photography.
7. Accenting the soft countryside are ancient castles and fortresses that helped to tame and protect this land for centuries, so the Tuscan people could create the special culture and lifestyle you can enjoy today. Equally old convents and abbeys stand as testaments to a faith that has served as the foundation of this place and the people who inhabit it.
8. Of all the Tuscan countryside to visit, none is more important or aesthetically pleasing than the Val d’Orcia. Located in the Provinces of Siena and Grosseto, it has earned its distinction as an UNESCO World Heritage Site because it reflects the unique vision of the Tuscan people. For centuries, they shaped the land to serve as an agricultural “factory” and a well-managed pastoral landscape that may be a greater treasure than any found in a museum.
9. As limitless the subject matter for your camera in the Tuscan landscape and villages, the cities of this land beckons, as these too are great treasures. To Florence and Sienna, your journey takes you to witness, record and experience how well the Tuscans integrate the modern life with the cities of Renaissance beauty.
10. The people who live and work on this stage are often highly fashionable, but are also equally passionate about simple pleasures. They want to know you, show you the timeless symbols of their cities and share all they have to offer. At work or play, they will provide your camera with an endless supply of character types, personalities and very real emotions.
11. It’s this marvelous, magical stage on which their lives are lived that will draw you to play your role. The architecture overwhelms as it also invites, from the Piazza Della Repubblica at the center of Florence to the Palazzo Vecchio Museum and Tower, standing 311 feet. The bells that toll there may sound peaceful, but they also symbolize the great political power, military might and wealth that made Florence and Tuscany the center of the Renaissance world.
12. The power and greatness of Florence are contrasts to the timeless beauty of Siena. The center of the city is also an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and as soon as you stroll into Il Campo, the central piazza, you will understand why. Climb the 500 steps off the piazza and discover the perfect position for your camera to capture the cityscape and surrounding countryside.
13. Although Florence and Siena’s museums house great works of art, the Tuscan people don’t hide all their artistic treasures. Massive as well as delicate statuary and refreshing fountains accent the outdoor environment and subtle works of art are evident in the stonework and carvings that mark the entrance to homes and buildings.
14. The streets of the cities are overflowing with life – the outdoor cafes where people linger and mingle over a cuisine of the freshest ingredients; street performers and mimes that add a festive element; and the musicians providing the perfect note to complement all you see and experience.
15. The Tuscan environment also includes the sea, with both rugged and gentle seascapes and ancient villages where fisherman still bring the catch of the days just as their ancestors did for centuries. Visit the towns of Argentario, Porto Santa Stefano and Porto Ercole to sample the day’s “frutti di mare” as the sun slips below the clear, blue waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Your journey through Tuscany will be like no other when you join the “Through a Tuscan Lens” Photography Workshop, October 4–14, 2014, or “Maximum Exposure”, October 17-26. Your host is Linda Bass and Tuscan Muse. Your instructor for “Through a Tuscan Lens” is Ulrich Brodde, a highly respected teacher of photography and known especially for the street and people photography of Tuscany and places throughout the world. Your instructor for “Maximum Exposure” is Bryan Pereira, a renowned photographer whose images are used by the BBC, National Geographic, ITALIA magazine and Getty Images.
The “Through a Tuscan Lens” itinerary includes all the best locations throughout Tuscany, including San Gimignano, Sant’ Antimo Abbey, Montalcino, The Tuscan Coast, Santa Fiora, Sovana, Pitigliano, Pienza, Siena, Florence, Val d’Orcia, Abbey of Monte Oliveto, Daniel Spoerri Sculpture Garden, Sant’ Anna in Camprena Abbey, Castel Nuova del Abate and Seggiano.
The “Maximum Exposure” itinerary includes the best locations throughout Tuscany as well, including Florence, The Tuscan Coast, Val d’Orcia, Montalcino, Sant’ Antimo Abbey, Sovana, Pitigliano, Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore, the Daniel Spoerri Sculpture Garden, Sant’ Anna in Camprena Abbey and Pienza.
Reserve your spot for this outstanding travel and photography opportunity by visiting TuscanMuse.com.
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