My trip to Italy last year in September, confirmed my belief once again of the boundless beauty this country holds.
After seeing many places in the past, in the northern area of the country, I’ve decided to visit Tuscany, with a detour on the Ligurian coastline to Cinque Terre. This is one of the country's most popular places, formed by five small villages along the coast with scenic hiking trails between each of them, surrounded by lush nature.
The place was crowded more than I could ever imagine and just a few days ago I've read that the Italian officials are considering limiting the number of visitors to 1,5 million per year in order to protect the cliffside villages environments. I completely agree with this measure.
I've spent only one day there by visiting two of the five villages, Manarola and Vernazza, before heading to Val d’Orcia, in the heart of Tuscany. I'm sure the other ones have their own unique personality and rich heritage too.
Arriving in Val d’Orcia, I was suddenly fascinated by its harmonious landscapes of rolling hills consisting of vines, grain, olive trees and winding cypress-trees-lined-roads leading up to charming medieval hilltop towns. All these elements conjured up a sense of delight. It was Italy at its best! During my stay there, I took various drives on the scenic roads by visiting a few of the medieval towns located in Val d’Orcia, such as Pienza, Montepulciano, San Quirico d’Orcia, Montalcino. I think my favorite one was Pienza. It is also included on the list of UNESCO’s World Cultural Landscapes offering a wonderful view over the valley and I could see the beauty of this hilltop town as it was lit by a spectacular sunrise. While some of the people prefer visiting and photographing this area during spring, when the fields are green and dotted with flowers, I can say my favorite period is in September, when the sunlight caresses the landscapes with its dry clay making the earth golden.
My journey in Tuscany ended up with a visit to Siena. Walking on the medieval streets of this town is a constant visual delight and it feels like stepping back in time - an enchanting medieval time capsule.
It is always great to visit Italy and no matter how many times I decide to go there, it will remain one of my favourite countries.
All the images below were taken with the Hasselblad 503CW and the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 using Kodak Portra 400 film.
Scanned and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California.