Tuscany and its Countryside

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” – Giuseppe Verdi

Being in love with Landscape:

We all are engrossed by the thought of how nature with its powerful forces would have carved the mountains, cliffs, rivers, waterfalls, and ranges thereby forming the world’s greatest and breathtaking treasures in the form of Landscapes. The vastness and surreal experience that lies with them and the intrigues they can possess within us is an ultimate experience one can have while witnessing and absorbing their existence. For a very long time, I always wanted to explore the breathtaking landscapes around the world. However, considering being never traveled internationally and that too alone, they were one of the immersive factors holding me down in my very own comfort zone. I felt stuck and I questioned myself as to why I haven't made such an effort to step out in the world and capture the amazing landscapes around the world.

Why Italy?

Italy has always had a strong impression on me due to its historical vastness and rich culture & heritage, from having the world’s strongest empire of Romans to the spellbinding art and history that influences and revolutionized the whole world. With its magnificent architecture mixed from the era of Roman empires to European modernization and last, it’s stunning landscape spread across the country. Being a photographer and an explorer, we all do tend to aim for taking a great photograph that makes us feel something more important about ourselves and Tuscany provided a great opportunity to bring it into reality.

When it’s Italy, there is a famous saying, “All roads lead to Rome!”. This brings a lot of First attempt:

- First International trip.

- First Solo trip.

- First EU trip.

- First International photo workshop.

A quick insight of the time taken to reach Tuscany:

Rome flight (~9hrs 15mins), Train transition to Chianciano Terme station (~4 hrs) = ~ 14 hours.

The first sight of Tuscany:

I met my mentor Alfredo Falvo ( amazing, fun-loving guy) on my arrival to Chianciano Terme city from where we directly started our day by discussing our workshop plans and what all can be covered. The first day was full of learning the aspect of landscape composition and what all factors are required while capturing them. Alfredo was very keen on pointing out the details and composition one must go through while wandering the landscape and its associated hot spots. I still remember our evening time in San Quirico D Orcia Valley where the sun was about to set and while making our way to the favorable spot, we were presented with painted grasslands and vineyards of Tuscany which looked more like a silk cloth spread across the land. There were very few houses in the vineyards that stand out amidst the green landscape thereby giving a great composition of subject and background altogether.

Exploring the regions of Tuscany:

During our workshop, we also were welcomed with misty mornings on one day and rainy afternoon and evening snowfall on the following days ahead. These different unexpected weather phenomena provided us with a great opportunity to explore different compositions and aspects of photography and also use it for upskilling ourselves thereby made a great learning experience too. One of my favorite spots was the Gladiator road where the actual shooting took place of the scene depicting Russell Crowe wandering through the grasses. If you are in Tuscany, you can find good-aligned and beautifully carved Cypress trees and the best place to capture them is in Asciano valley. The place is beautifully lit during the sunset hour and with the right exposure, one can surely capture the magical texture of this beautiful landscape! Also, on top of that, even though it was early winters, but we were quite brave enough to wake up early around 6 am and fight with the cold shivering winds along with the mistiness of water in the air.

Quick insight of top locations in Tuscany:

Orcia Valley:

When you picture Tuscany and you see rolling green hills with a lone cypress at the top or gentle yellow covered hills with rolls of haystacks spread across the fields, you are picturing the breathtaking landscapes of the Val d'Orcia valley in southern Tuscany. Medieval castles, hilltop towns, charming rural farmhouses, rows of vineyards, or cypress trees and golden wheat fields are just some of the elements that complement the fantastic landscapes of the Val d'Orcia!

Asciano Valley:

Although Asciano is only a small town it is worth stopping for a look to see the medieval center as you explore the unusual landscapes of the Crete Senesi region. Also, it's famous for its sunset point in the valley where line of Cypress trees provides an amazing view as a painting of the valley.


Pienza:

The Perfect Mix of Architecture, Food & Tradition built to represent the "Utopian City"

Pienza is a tiny village in southern Tuscany in the beautiful valley called Val d'Orcia The village is located about 20 kilometers east of Montalcino and a few kilometers to the west of Montepulciano amidst gentle undulating hills and wonderful natural landscapes. Pienza enjoys a strategic position standing high atop a hill, dominating all the Orcia Valley with extraordinary views.

Montepulciano:


Montepulciano is a medieval hilltop town in Tuscany, Italy. Surrounded by vineyards, it’s known for its vino noble red wine. The Torre di Pulcinella is a clock tower topped by a figure of the Pulcinella, a commedia dell’arte character. On the Piazza Grande is the 14th-century Palazzo Comunale, with a tower offering views of the surrounding countryside. Also here is the Duomo, with a huge triptych above its altar.

Everlasting imprint:


There is a saying: A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” – Ansel Adams. Tuscany is a wealth of historic treasures considered one-of-a-kind worldwide: the region is full of art cities and little picturesque villages with huge cultural heritage, but is also extraordinary because of its fascinating landscape, with its bucolic countryside and rolling hills. The time spent in the city indeed brought a sense of closeness to nature and its enormous power it has to create these open horizons and vast range. Considering my first ever international trip and that being a solo one, it indeed left an everlasting impact on my heart, and not a day goes by, where I always think of going back to relive those moments again in Italy. I do hope to see this astounding country soon in the future.