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Tuscany, Italy



Situated in the western part of the boot of Italy, the region of Tuscany lies south of Florence and north of Rome. My visit took place in early May, which is an excellent time to see Tuscany since the end of the rainy season means an abundance of wildflowers in bloom all over the flourishing green fields of the countryside.

Tuscany is truly a photographer’s playground. The wind-swept beauty of the land is a feast for the eyes as well as the imagination. The panoramas provide an infinite amount of possibilities for interesting compositions. Layers of green foreground seamlessly blend into the misty background with soft shades of blue and lavender. The Tuscan sky mingles with vineyards that elegantly climb their way through rolling hills. In the small town of Volterra, the drama of the ruins and moss-covered castles are intensified by a storm that had momentarily taken a break. Lurking rainclouds overhead cast a considerable depth of shadows over the symmetrically-curved hilltops, while single files of dark green cypress trees create a striking geometric balance to the land. Deep lush greens of young wheat fields grace much of the Tuscan landscape, alongside unexpected splashes of bright red poppies that drench the ground in rich, beautiful color.

Architectural details abound in the smaller Tuscan villages, from the peaceful winding lanes that beckon for a leisurely stroll, to the stately, cream-colored villas and stone houses, whose front steps and windows were almost always decorated with potted geraniums of pink and coral and rambling red roses. The vivid color of their blooms considerably brightens the natural dreariness of the exposed walls of stone and faded brick.

Although the more famous cities such as Florence and big hilltop towns like Siena and San Gimignano are huge must-sees for their artistic heritage, they are also completely over-crowded with tourists during almost any season. For photographers, it is a lot more rewarding to see the quiet side of Tuscany. Visiting smaller, lesser-known hill towns such as Radda, Passignano and Monteriggioni attract me the most because they offer a more quaint and personal experience. Using the itinerary set by Karen Brown in her book, “Tuscany and Umbria”, really helped me plan a successful trip. Her guide gave me a very precise route and introduced to me to some very charming restaurants and hotels. Reading the book was like getting lost in a dream. Once I arrived in Tuscany, everything that I had only before imagined suddenly came alive.