It’s been just 2 weeks since our Workshop in Tuscany ended and not a day goes by that I’m not reminiscing about the amazing experience it was. From the workshop participants, the first-class resort where we stayed, the kind and friendly people we encountered everywhere we went, the amazing food and wine, to the gorgeous landscapes and beautiful light we had to work with. Our Tuscan workshop was fantastic!
The resort offers gorgeous sunrise shots right at our front door and the sun cooperated each morning rising over the small mountain ridges and kissing the vineyards to start the day. On a few days, we had mist and fog in the nooks between the ridges which only made the scene more magical. Some of the participants got out every single morning taking advantage of the convenience of this perfect location.
Our excursions led us to various historic hill towns where we enjoyed photographing and every trip ended on a high note with a stop for gelato!
A day trip to Florence was one of the highlights. Beginning at the 11th century Romanesque church, San Miniato, we enjoyed photographing one of the most spectacular views of the city stretched out in front of us on a beautiful blue sky, puffy cloud day. From there we wandered to the Piazzale Michelangelo (another great overlook) and then casually down to follow the Arno river to the Ponte Vecchio bridge, making our way to the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore. Taking 142 years to build, this 13th century marble tiled, red dome, gothic style “Duomo” (cathedral) is THE church of Florence.
Another favorite outing was our trip to Pienza. This ancient hilltop town retains its old world charm and is less crowded than some of the other locations. Interestingly, it seemed Pienza had a lot cheese and kitchen shops (more so than other towns although I'm not sure why).
Vibrant and alive, Siena is exciting. Everyone in the group was up for the “tower climb” which leads to the ceiling of the Duomo on the inside, and spectacular views from the outdside. A visit to the Campo (main square of Siena) offered people watching, street photography options, and plenty of outdoor restaurant options to enjoy.
A trip to Tuscany is not complete without a stop in San Gimingano. A great spot for exploring and photographing the historic towers of the 13th century walled city as well as the views overlooking the fields of olive groves and vineyards below. Additionally, it's a great shopping spot for Italian treasures; leather goods, linens and such.
Wine tastings, delicious sit-down dinners with endless wine offerings, breakfast buffets, a pig roast, bon fires and an outdoor pizza party all helped to make our stay at Dievole Winery and Resort so very memorable.
Above all the Tuscan wonders, what made the trip the most special was the workshop participants. Its always such a pleasure watching everyone enjoy Italy and help them take exciting photos to remember it by. Meeting new people and working with those I already knew, it was such a gift to be able to explore the Tuscan countryside together with them.
To see just some of what we experienced, check out the participants photos on the Tuscany Student Showcase.
Next year? Who knows, perhaps Venice in September?? Perhaps Cinque Terre in June?? Stay tuned as I try to decide between the two.