Italy has a long and splendid history as well as majestic scenery. This photographic tour offers you the opportunities to see and capture those splendors. This is a tour designed by photographers for photographers. We know how light works and strive to get you to locations at the proper time so you will have the best opportunity to capture the imagery in the best light. With small group sizes and personalize attention, your skills will improve and your way of envisioning the world will be enhanced. This photo tour will take you from famed cities to cypress-lined roads , from medieval hilltop towns to a village designed by a pope to be the most perfect Renaissance city, from Etruscan hill tops to the famed waterways of Venice. Each day you will taken to the most iconic locations as well as have the opportunity to learn how to scout out new sights and vistas so that your photos will take on new dimensions.
Itinerary: arrive in Rome, Italy
Day 1 – We meet at one of Rome’s finest hotels where we will gather for a quick breakfast review of what each of us is hoping to get out of this photographic adventure, including subject matters, techniques, and your vision of photography. The tour starts as we head into the eternal city starting with the Vatican and St Peter’s Square, the Vatican museum and the Sistine Chapel.
Afterwards we take a walk to Borgo Pio for street photography and to get lunch. We then head to Castel Sant’Angelo to explore this amazing structure and to photograph the cityscape from its roof. Just below us, we will gather at Pont St Angelorome for our dusk/sunset shot on the shores of the Tiber river. We then head out together for a wonderful welcome dinner. (B) (D)
Day 2 – We set out early today to get to our locations before the tourist crowds overtake us. First we walk to the Pantheon to photograph it bathed in the early morning light. We will also go to the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish steps and the Piazza Navona. We head back to the hotel for breakfast and a rest. You are free to wander the city before we venture out again in the later afternoon heading first to Capitoline Hill, one of the seven hills of Rome. Both the piazza and the Piazza del Campidoglio were designed by Michelangelo. From here it is a short walk to the Forum and Colosseum. There are opportunities for wonderful dusk and sunset photos at both of these locations. We will scout the locations and determine which works best for your particular photographic vision. (B)
Day 3 – After breakfast we travel to Tuscany stopping along the way at the hilltop village of Civita di Bagnoregio. This village, founded by the Etruscans 2500 years ago, has been damaged in various earthquakes though the core of the town still remains. It is accessible only by a single bridge. Here we will explore and photograph this small village and then have lunch. We will continue northward to the Val D’Orcia stopping along the way whenever we see something that is of photographic interest. We will photograph both the iconic Tuscan scenery as well as discover new, fresh vistas. We spend the night in the small hill top town of Pienza. (B) (L)
Day 4 – We are up early this morning to try to capture photos of the morning fog in the valleys of the surrounding countryside. We will drive along the back roads deep into the countryside before heading back to Pienza for lunch. You will be able to spend the afternoon exploring this medieval town that was rebuilt by Pope Pius II starting in 1459 to become the ideal Renaissance town. Remember, this is an Italian hilltop town so a lot of the shops will close between 1 & 3:30pm. In late afternoon we head out once again to capture the best light on the rolling hills making sure to stop at the areas we scouted previously for our sunset photos. We spend the night again in Pienza. (B)
Day 5 – This morning you can sleep in or head out for another sunrise shoot. We will be back at the hotel early enough for breakfast. The workshop then continues north through the Italian countryside to Florence. We will grab some lunch before taking to the ancient streets of Florence photographing areas such as Bargello Museum, Piazza della Repubblica, Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio. We then will head back to our hotel to pick up our tripods so we can use them for our sunset photos at the Piazza Michelangelo with its fantastic view of the cityscape. (B) (L)
Day 6 – After a good night’s sleep, we head to the Duomo, which remains the largest masonry dome ever constructed. It is the most prominent building in the Florentine landscape. Taking a private tour, we will be able to access areas restricted to the normal public while not having to wait in any tourist line. We will also visit the Accademia Gallery where Michelangelo’s David is located, as well as the Baptistery of St John, where Dante and the Medici family were baptized. It is one of the oldest buildings in Florence. Giotto’s Campanile is also located in this complex. The top three levels were designed so that each higher one is larger than the ones below, countering the effects of perspective for a viewer from the ground.
A short walk will take us to the Mercato di San Lorenzo. The market is a feast of color and liveliness, where we will take photos of vendors haggling with customers. Located right next door is Mercato Centrale, a food market where local farmers sell their goods. Upstairs, have lunch from one of the food artisans that prepares food only from the items available on the first floor. From there we head to the Basilica of Santa Croce, the final resting place of both Michelangelo and Galileo. It is situated in front of a lively plaza, often with buskers playing music to the crowds. For the rest of the afternoon you have free time to wander and take photos on your own. We will meet later at the hotel to take our walk to our sunset photo location, San Miniato al Monte. Located on one of the highest hills in Florence, the basilica was founded in honor or St Miniato who, after being beheaded, is said to have walked to the other side of the Arno river carrying his severed head to the hill where his hermitage at the basilica now stands. (B) (D)
Day 7 – Our workshop leaves Florence today and heads by high speed train through the Italian countryside on our way to Venice. Once there, we will transfer to our hotel by boat. After settling in, we head out for a day of photography amongst the canals, streets and plazas. We will take a short walk through the streets of Venice and head to Piazza San Marco where you will be able to photograph the famous Campanile di San Marco. There we will get a birds eye view of Venice. We will see St. Mark’s Basilica, Doge’s Palace. There is even a view of the Bridge of Sighs from Ponte della Paglia. Later we will scout the Rialto Bridge for our sunset photos that evening. (B)
Day 8 – Today we take a boat ride to the colorful island of Burano. Populated by fishermen and artisans, the island is only 52 acres but has many photographic opportunities. We will photograph the reflections of the buildings and the boats in the canal waters, as well as the leaning bell tower. Built in the 17th century, due to land subsidence, the tower leans off center 1.83 meters in respect to its axis.
When we get back to Venice, we will stop by the hotel to pick up our tripods so we can head out to get one final sunset shot of the Basilica di Santa Maria from Ponte dell’Accademia before we gather together one last time for our farewell dinner. (B) (D)
Day 9 – We meet one last time over breakfast to exchange contact info and to share experiences from the photo tour. Feel free to extend your stay in Venice. Just let us know in advance. After breakfast you can take a boat service either back to the train station or to Marco Polo Airport for return flights home. (B)