Let’s start the third year of this project with a quick overview of the last adventures and dive into the future with even more passion and dash.
It is tender now to think about the past paths, both on the level of technical development and for the deeper meaning of photography, to step into the future with even more craziness and hunger. This year began with the chill explorations of Prague and continued going up the thousand (and more) steps of 5 terre, then discovering Venice in its elegance and calm, interrupted by the rushy awakenings towards the impervious ridges of the Grigne under the watchful gaze of chamois, marmots and blackbirds.
All of this while building the project of wedding photography unafotoperdue (a-photo-for-two) and other projects, only mentioned on these pages so far .
The first, and most impacting for your experience, will be a complete rework of this site. I’m afraid it will take me more time than it should be, but I’d like to start the new months by giving this project a new dress, you’ll see. There is also to update the biography (or maybe remove it) as it is strangely one of the most visited pages, but for now this remains in queue.
But let’s with the latest updates from last year, and let’s do it literally with a bang! On December 31st the unafotoperdue project had its first real success, working in a complete and exclusive way on our first wedding. A couple, who decided to get married and celebrate in San Silvester’s Night, hired us to take care of their day’s story (or should we say their night?).
Of course, the photos are not meant for this space, but I’m very proud to share this first success, materialized as a sweet ending for the year and as a more promising beginning for the new year (2018 started literally shooting a picture ).
At the end of this exhausting 12-hour experience of shots and rides, I only had time to recharge the batteries (of the camera, not mine) and leave for the next adventure.
No, this time we are not coming back to the lovely Grigne (not yet at least), we moved South for a gypsy trip through the Tuscan hinterland.
For the amazing time of 4 days we have shot the most beautiful, known and unknown Tuscan locations; crossing the Chianti valley (read as “wine”) and the Val d’Orcia (read as “even more wine”).
Departured with the durangomachine before dawn (which is quite easy in the winter) we capitulated to Pisa, still a bit ‘upset by the alarm and the trip we seemed to still be in a half dream entering the Piazza dei miracoli (Literally “square of miracles”).
The beauty of these marbles is amazing, and the colors are so pure they make the grass of a brighter green than the normal, almost shining. Beyond the first glance, however, the eye falls on rough geometries, and while the eye tries to decipher what is not to square in the panorama, the tower of Pisa seems to capitulate and comes back to mind, almost as if we woke up for the second time, that this is the Pisa of the leaning tower.
Do you ever think what a blow to the heart of the sculptors and architects of the time to see that their lovable tower, day by day, is inclining more and more towards a comfortable horizontal rest? Today the inclination is fixed at 5 °, which read on paper seem few but seen from the truth is an enormity. In addition, the shape of the tower is that of a light banana because during the construction, seeing that the tower leaned slowly on the floor, the architects decided to curve the structure during construction, thus giving a structural twist to try to balance the tower, but despite the effort the tower didn’t grow straight.
And the tower is not the only work to be crooked, the baptistery itself has a slope of a few degrees, much less than 5 of the tower, but enough to give a little ‘headache to those (like us) in the early hours in the morning tried to make a perfectly straight photo.
On the inside, the marble walls are a perfect sounding board, built to cradle the baptismal chants of the privileged few who were baptized there. A tourist-guide set to pitch a scale of notes during our visit, and the acoustics were such that the entire structure vibrated on her notes .
Everything was beautiful in the square of miracles, but Pisa was already enough for us, after the wonder of the leaning tower and the chant in the baptistery we darted to Lucca, the first true Tuscan citadel enclosed within its medieval walls.
Arrived at our sweet bed and breakfast we parked our bags to jump inside the walls, where the alleys engulfed us through medieval churches, marbles and markets. Here we had the first taste of Tuscan food and wine, warming up with porchetta and red chianti.
Between one alley and another we climbed to the top of Guinigi tower, where a vertical garden of medieval origin stands out from the heart of the citadel.
We had our first encounter with the beaked-locals on the gardens outside the city.
After the first Tuscan night we plunged into the heart of the region, in the town of Volterra.
We haven’t hunted shimmering vampires (unfortunately) but as we did previously we left ourselves to be swallowed by the sweet sandstone alleys that meander through the walls of the town, along the historic prison of the city (still in use, but without medieval torture), an Etruscan acropolis including a theater still partially submerged by vegetation, and the famous Palazzo dei Priori.
The weather was already worse than the clear sky of the first day, and unfortunately the clouds that turned off all the bright colors of the hills around haunted us until the end of the trip, raining sporadically and making it difficult to appreciate other villages of Chianti as Castellina , Panzano and Val d’Elsa.
We arrived in the evening in the pincushion of towers that is San Gimignano, here the perturbation reached its peak by folding the cypresses as if they were twigs of grass in the wind and gifting me a beautiful influence, which is still struggling to leave me alone. But the strength of these winds was of no avail against us, and there was no cold that could stop us from looking for a plate of cantucci and vin santo and from exploring this little village in the night and in the early hours of the next morning.
Siena was the next revelation. Scattered with hidden pearls and treasures left in the square like the pavement of the cathedral square, completely carved out of engraved marble, or like the square of the palio on which every year the jockeys dart enchant and animate the city. These traditions of palio and festivals make each village unique and inimitable, the men of every age have found ways to challenge themselves and their limits to imperial memory of the underlying uncertainty that leads us to dream distant peaks and unexplored lands.
The last part of the adventure was concentrated in Val d’Orcia, and began with a quick dive into San Quirico.
Then we visited the spa-town of Bagno Vignoni, where a spring gives the village water at 50 ° C since the Middle Ages. The city has developed in recent years as a spa (and is worth it), but in the past it was not so much the thermal waters as the continuous source of water, which in the summer months differentiated this country from the surrounding areas thanks to the continuous influx of water converted into energy by downstream mills used to engrave and shape the stones extracted in the surrounding area.
A sword in the rock (and not only one, tbh) also exists in Italy, and is preserved in the hermitage of Montesiepi. Legend has it that San Galgano, who came to a point of conversion in his life as a knight, broke his sword in a rock, leaving it stuck there as a sign of conversion to Christianity.
The sword is still preserved in there (where the saint lived the last year of his life) and is protected by a heavy sarcophagus of aged Plexiglas, which unfortunately obscures its sight.
But in around XIII century, when the monastic community grew out until the original structure was no longer enough, a cathedral was built.
This fell into disuse about 200 years later, and the negligence was such that the roof completely collapsed making it necessary to deconsecrate due to the conversion of the building as a farm. Today this monument gives evocative emotions thanks to its celestial vault (really!), and is also open in the clear evenings to admire the sky from within its walls and through its windows and rosettes (which also partially collapsed in time).
Roaming in the neighborhood we rode among the sweet shapes of Tuscan hills, and sometimes we were lucky enough to see them in their best color, sunlighted!
A short stop in Montepulciano was the last stage of this feverish adventure. As if the sky wanted to mock us, we left as the clouds thinned out and the sun began to shine in the sky after 4 days of clouds and rain.
But the bad weather has not been limited to central Italy in these weeks, and you know what it means?
And with this snow, you can not want to return to the peaks .. but this time we will return with a new approach.