Tuscany and Cinque Terre
Join Randy Hanna and Paolo De Faveri on a stunning photo workshop in Tuscany and Cinque Terre. This workshop is an incredible mix of old-world cities and towns, mixed with the beautiful rolling hills and dramatic coastline of the region. Known as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance, Tuscany is our starting point, when we meet in Florence, where we will photograph the piazzas and people, the Arno River, and Ponte Vecchio. From this base, we’ll spend the next six days exploring many highlights of the region, including Belvedere in the Orcia Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where the rolling hills and farmland lay perfectly formed in the warm, rising sun. We’ll enjoy tasty, local foods as we drink in the local culture. We’ll enjoy the olive trees and vineyards of San Gimignano. The reflecting ponds of Terrapille (near Montichiello) await, 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 town center. Pitigliano is an amazing town built on top of a hill, entirely out of tufa rocks. This is only a small sample of what we’ll experience in Tuscany, before we head to Cinque Terre, where we will photograph 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.
There is so much to photograph on this eleven-day workshop, you’ll return home with a drive full of images, and fond memories of the food, the people, and the beauty of this incredible region.
April 30–May 11, 2019
Itinerary and General Information
April 30, 2019: 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, 2019: 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, 2019: Sunrise in Belvedere, at the center of the Orcia Valley, we will photograph grand vistas, the rolling hills, the small hamlets, and scattered farm houses 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 might even have an encounter with some of the wildlife species 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 rural small church atop a hill in the countryside between Pienza and San Quirico d'Orcia.
May 3, 2019: 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 just perfect for playing with reflections at sunrise, particularly if the sky is a bit cloudy. 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. In the afternoon, we will photograph the countryside surrounding the small village of Castiglione d'Orcia, as well as the medieval castle and tower placed at the centre of the village, with a fantastic view of the whole Orcia 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 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, 2019: Sunrise shoot at ”La Foce“ (the outlet), on the road between Pienza and Chianciano. From a nice 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 itself to reach the top of a hill, from where we will enjoy 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 beautlful medieval town famous for its tasty, full-bodied wine, Brunello. From the towers of the fortress at city center, the view is simply breathtaking. After lunch, we will drive from Montalcino to the Abbey of Sant'Antimo, an ancient monastery built ten centuries ago, 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, 2019: After breakfast, we drive to Pitigliano, an amazing little town on the top of a hill, completely 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 very nice area, with a beautiful forest of maritime pine trees populated by deer, and a wonderful sandy beach. We will spend the rest of the day at the beach. This is also a beauitful location for shooting sunset, as the sun sets right into the sea in September.
May 6, 2019: 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, 2019: After checkout, we drive to Cinque Terre, where we will shoot the sun setting in the waters of the Ligurian Sea from the harbour of Riomaggiore and from the Love Trail, the walking path that links the five villages together. After dinner, we could have another shooting session of Riomaggiore by night.
May 8, 2019: 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, and also the beautiful, multicoloured pebbles found here—an ideal subject for some serious abstract and close up. After breakfast, we will focus on the the small harbor with cobalt blue fishermen's boats, the small lanes of the centre of the town, and the tall buildings painted in the bright colors of the Ligurian style. After lunch, we will take a 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 colourful fishermen's houses clinging onto the rugged cliffs and its tiny harbor, it is probably the most picturesque among the five villages. We will wait for sunset at the reefs beneath the harbor. This is a wonderful spot for seascapes of great impact, with surf, crashing waves, and beautiful whirls produced by the undertow.
May 9, 2019: Sunrise at Manarola, where we will shoot the colorful fishermen's houses, the small harbour of the village, and the waves crashing on the reefs and cliffs surrounding the harbor. After breakfast, we will get the train to the next village, Corniglia (the only village of the Cinque Terre without a direct access to the sea) which lies atop a promontory with a wonderful view of the Ligurian Sea. Next we head to Vernazza, the most beautiful part of this famous trail, with breathtaking views of the sea and the cliffs. We will spend the rest of the day shooting in and around Vernazza.
May 10, 2019: 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. It was originally a fishing town, and it still retains that feeling, the facades of the tall buildings are brightly-painted in the typical Ligurian style. There is e 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, 2019: Sunrise in Monterosso, the westernmost village of the Cinque Terre, a wonderful little town rich with atmosphere. We will spend a couple of hours after sunrise shooting in the small lanes of the old town, and along the wonderful foothpath 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
Please see our What to Bring page now for guidelines on packing. Approximately 90 days before your workshop, you will be sent a PDF with more specific instructions.
- 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!
What’s 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.
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