Tuscany and Cinque Terre

Tuscany and Cinque Terre offer an incredible mix of old-world cities, beautiful rolling hills, and dramatic coastline in the region that is known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.

In Florence, we will photograph the piazzas, people, Arno River, Ponte Vecchio, and many highlights of the surrounding region, including Belvedere in the Orcia Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is here where the rolling hills and farmland lay perfectly formed in the warm, rising sun. Photograph the olive trees and vineyards of San Gimignano and the reflecting ponds of Terrapille near Montichiello nestled amongst the rolling hills and rape fields. We’ll have a fantastic view of the Orcia Valley from Castiglione d’Orcia and the medieval castle tower at the town center. Pitigliano is built on top of a hill, entirely out of tufa rocks.

That’s just a small sampling of what we’ll experience in Tuscany before we head to Cinque Terre, a coastal region encompassing five villages hugging the dramatic coastline. Each village has its own charm and personality, and we will explore and photograph each of them. The waves crashing on the jagged coast of Riomaggiore, a harbor town with cobalt-blue fishing boats, and buildings painted in the bright colors of the Ligurian style. Manarola is a highly picturesque village, and home to colorful houses clinging to rugged cliffs.

Under the guidance of Randy Hanna, you will practice your composition skills, and learn new techniques for managing the light in your landscapes. Of course, we’ll also make time for our signature image reviews and post-processing instruction for accentuating your images in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. You’ll return home with a hard drive full of images, and fond memories of the food, the people, and the beauty of this incredible region.

Location:

Italy

Tuition:

$9,995

Dates:

April 30–May 11, 2021

Fitness Level:

Moderate
Lots of walking all day every day.
Mostly stair climbing in Cinque Terre.

Your Pros:

Randy Hanna
Paolo De Faveri

Availability:

Open for Registration
Limited to 8 Guests

Randy is an excellent instructor. Period.
— Chelsea Tischler, Italy '17, Tanzania '16
This was the best Muench Workshop I have ever attended! Fantastic locations and epic moments experienced on this trip. Paolo was a super guide and host for the country of Italy.
— Dan Chrenka, Italy '16, and 5 other Muench Workshops

Itinerary and General Information

April 30, 2021: We’ll meet at 4:00 PM at our hotel in Florence, followed by dinner and a night-shooting session by the Arno River.

May 1, 2021: Up early to photograph the sun rising over the city. We’ll photograph from the footpath along the Arno river and from Alle Grazie bridge, with Ponte Vecchio as the main subject. After that, Piazzale Michelangelo, which has a magnificent view of the whole city of Florence. We will spend the rest of the day in San Gimignano and in the surrounding hills, vineyards, and fields of olive trees. 

May 2, 2021: Sunrise in Belvedere, at the center of the Orcia Valley, we will photograph grand vistas, the rolling hills, the small hamlets, and scattered farmhouses typical of this area. After breakfast, we’ll spend the rest of the morning scouting the area between San Quirico d’Orcia and Pienza. We may have an encounter with some of the wildlife living in the area, such as deer and hawks. We will spend the afternoon photographing the many beautiful buildings and churches of Pienza, as well as the wonderful views of the surrounding hills. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pienza was rebuilt in the fifteenth century as an ideal Renaissance town. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, which eventually spread to other European centers. Sunset will be at the Chapel of Vitaleta, a small rural church atop a hill in the countryside between Pienza and San Quirico d’Orcia.

May 3, 2021: Sunrise, we’ll be at Terrapille, right at the base of the hill on which the village of Montichiello lies. This is a beautiful, rural area with crop and rape fields, nice old buildings, and a few ponds—which are perfect for photographing reflections at sunrise. After breakfast, we will spend the rest of the morning scouting the area known as Cretaiole, where there are magnificent views of the Valdorcia hills, with Pienza often in the background. We will photograph the countryside surrounding Castiglione d’Orcia. From the medieval castle at the center of the village, we will have a fantastic view of the Valley. We will then move to Bagno Vignoni, and walk along the lanes of this small, perfectly preserved medieval hamlet, with the beautiful facades of its buildings reflected in the hot springs at the city center, known as the “square of sources.” Later we will head back to Pienza and stop at Belvedere for the sunset shoot.

May 4, 2021: Sunrise shoot at “La Foce” (the outlet), on the road between Pienza and Chianciano. From an excellent vantage point along the road, we will shoot what is probably the most famous zig-zag road of Italy, with Mount Amiata in the background. We will then drive on that zig-zag road to reach the top of a hill, for a magnificent 360° view of the Orcia valley, Mount Amiata, and the towns of Chianciano, Pienza, Radicofani, and Contignano. After breakfast and checkout, we drive to Montalcino, another beautiful medieval town famous for its tasty, full-bodied wine, Brunello. From the towers of the fortress at the city center, the view is simply breathtaking. After lunch, we will drive to the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, an ancient monastery, which lies in a beautiful valley and is surrounded by vineyards and olive trees. Sunset this day will be what is probably the most photographed bunch of trees in the world, just a few steps away from the road between Montalcino and San Quirico.

May 5, 2021: After breakfast, we drive to Pitigliano, an amazing little town on the top of a hill, entirely built of tufa rocks. After lunch, we’ll be in Orbetello, a beautiful small town in the middle of a lagoon by the coast. Then we will go to Duna Feniglia, a long and wide sandy dune that separates the lagoon of Orbetello from the open sea. This is a lovely area, with a beautiful forest of maritime pine trees populated by deer, and a beautiful sandy beach. We will spend the rest of the day at the beach. This is also an attractive location for shooting sunset, as the sun sets right into the sea in September.

May 6, 2021: After breakfast, we will drive to Siena, where we will spend the whole day shooting the attractions of the city: Piazza del Campo, Palazzo Ducale, Torre del Mangia, the Cathedral (Duomo) with its magnificent marbles and mosaics, and the so-called “Facciatone”, which is the facade of an unfinished, huge cathedral that was designed in the fourteenth century. From atop the Facciatone, there is a magnificent panorama of the town and the surrounding hills. We will stop somewhere along the road just south of Siena, for the setting sun behind the hills. After dinner, we will have an image processing session at the hotel. 

May 7, 2021: After checkout, we drive to Cinque Terre, where we will photograph the sun setting in the waters of the Ligurian Sea, and then along the walking path, which links the five villages together. After dinner, we could photograph Riomaggiore by night.

May 8, 2021: Up early for a short train ride to Riomaggiore. We will photograph the sun rising from behind the cliffs of the beach, with surf and crashing waves in the foreground. Also the beautiful, multicolored pebbles found here—an ideal subject for abstracts. After breakfast, we will photograph the small harbor, cobalt-blue fishing boats, the small lanes of the center of the town, and the tall buildings painted in the bright colors of the Ligurian style. After lunch, we will walk on the Sentiero dell’Amore (Love Trail), and photograph the jagged coast and cliffs along the trail. We will spend the rest of the afternoon at Manarola, with its colorful fishermen’s houses clinging to the rugged cliffs, and its tiny harbor. It is probably the most picturesque among the five villages. We will wait for the sunset at the reefs beneath the harbor. This is a wonderful spot for seascapes of high impact, with surf, crashing waves, and beautiful whirls produced by the undertow.

May 9, 2021: Sunrise at Manarola, where we will shoot the colorful fishermen’s houses, the small harbor of the village, and the waves crashing on the reefs and cliffs surrounding the harbor. After breakfast, we will get the train to Corniglia (the only village of the Cinque Terre without direct access to the sea), which lies atop a promontory with a beautiful view of the Ligurian Sea. Next, we head to Vernazza, with breathtaking views of the sea and the cliffs. We will spend the rest of the day shooting in and around Vernazza.

May 10, 2021: Sunrise in Vernazza at the harbor, with more of the brightly-colored fishermen’s houses and waves crashing on the cliffs. After breakfast, we drive to Portovenere, the easternmost village of Cinque Terre, it is a small, medieval town placed on the very tip of a promontory. Originally a fishing town, it still retains that feeling, the facades of the tall buildings are brightly-painted in the typical Ligurian style. There is a small harbor in front of the Island of Palmaria, a ten-centuries-old gothic church, and a fortress, both built on a sheer drop, overlooking the Ligurian Sea. We will spend the rest of the day in Portovenere, a wonderful medieval complex surrounded by cliffs and reefs.

May 11, 2021: Sunrise in Monterosso, the westernmost village of the Cinque Terre, a beautiful little town with a vibrant atmosphere. We will spend a couple of hours after the sunrise shooting in the small lanes of the old town, and along the wonderful footpath carved in the cliffs, which leads to the town of Vernazza. We will then get back to the hotel for breakfast and check out. Flights out of Genoa (GOA) anytime after 4:00 PM.

What to Bring and How to Prepare for Your Workshop

Please see our How To Prepare For Your Workshop page now for guidelines on workshop prep, gear, and packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging (single available, just ask)

  • All meals and soft drinks during workshop

  • All transportation, permits, fees, and tips

  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros

  • Image reviews and post-processing instruction

  • Inspiration, fun, and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

Air transportation to Florence, Italy and from Genoa, Italy. Visa and passport fees, if any. Medical Evacuation Insurance (optional, but recommended). Travel Medical and Trip Cancellation Insurance (optional, but recommended). Alcoholic beverages. Items of a personal nature. Anything not specifically mentioned in “what's included”, above.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $2,995 USD will hold your space in this workshop. Further payment of $4,000 is due by October 1, 2020. The balance of $3,000 USD will be due not later than January 1, 2021. All of our standard terms and conditions apply.

Additional Information

This workshop sells out fast, so if it has your name on it, click the "Sign Me Up!" button and we'll see you in Italy!