Tour dates: 22 March – 1 April 2020
Tour length: 11 days
Led by: Seng Mah (entire tour) with Alfredo Falvo (Umbria and Tuscany)
Minimum 4 guests. Maximum 6 guests. This tour is suitable for photographers of all levels.
Pace: Easy. Walking tours on cobbled roads and lanes, some steps to ascend/descend. Some locations will require hiking along graded tracks and trails in Umbria and Tuscany. You will need to be able to carry your own camera equipment and tripod on this tour.
Italy is one of the most vibrant, exciting and photogenic destinations in Europe. With a rich historic past, breath-taking landscapes and the allure of La Dolce Vita (wine, gelato, taste sensations), it’s easy to understand why visitors fall in love with Italy! Join us on an intimate photography tour that showcases the best of Italy has to offer – classical Roman streets and monuments, ancient hill forts in Umbria, the rolling hills of Tuscany and the historic majesty of the one-and-only Florence. You’ll be soaking in and photographing views that others can only dream of taking.
The “Enchanting Italy” photography tour lets me share my passion for things Italian with you. The tour has been designed as an exclusive small group tour (no more than six guests), so that you can savour your Italian experience and feel as if you’re traveling with friends and fellow photographers, instead of feeling lost in a large group. We’ve teamed up with Italian photography teacher, Alfredo Falvo of Tuscany Photography Workshops, to give you local and intimate access to some of the most amazing photographic locations, along with the best places to eat, drink and experience in the Tuscan countryside.
The destinations selected on this tour are places that have resonated deeply with me as a photographer and traveller, for reasons that range from the magnificent photographic opportunities they present, to the remarkable cultural and gastronomic delights that are on offer. I’ve returned to Italy again and again and you’ll understand why when you join Alfredo and me and experience everything that this tour has to offer!
This tour is all about the iconic and heartfelt moments that Italy has to offer — we’ll be photographing classical scenery in Rome, exploring the ancient hills and vales of Umbria, rambling all over the beautiful Tuscan countryside with cameras in tow and finding ourselves in the Siena and Florence, two of Tuscany’s most beautiful and famous cities. Our travel will be via a combination of private bus and local trains, so that we can experience Italy in a more authentic and personal way. We will stay in traditional hotels, converted palazzi (city palaces) and albergos (traditional inns) in the heart of cities and towns, where we will be mere walking distance away from some of the best places to photograph, eat and drink!
Unlike other photography tours of Italy, this one doesn’t just breeze you in and out of locations. Instead, we spend a few nights in each location, so that we will have the time to really savour and soak in what makes each town or destination unique — from its food and wine, to its people and landscapes.
Built into this tour are memorable experiences that will make you fall in love with the Italian Way of Life: wine tastings, authentic meals, visits to local restaurants where fresh food is produced daily. This is a tour for photographers who are looking to experience Italy in a most fulfilling way and to return home with superb memories and stunning photographs that will be the envy of everyone.
DAY 1: ROME, THE ETERNAL CITY
Welcome to Rome, the Eternal City! The tour begins in Rome at our hotel in the heart of this magnificent city, a stone’s throw away from many exciting landmarks and sights. There will be opportunities for street photography, as well as scheduled photo shoots to capture two of the Eternal City’s most amazing sights – set centuries apart: the view of St Peter’s Basilica from across the Tiber River caught in the golden glow of sunset, and the Roman Forum with the colours of sunrise as its backdrop. Enjoy dining in local trattorias and strolling on cobblestone streets and laneways, with centuries-old palazzos forming the background for street photography.
DAYS 2 – 4: ORIVIETO, UMBRIA AND THE MYSTERIES OF THE ETRUSCANS
We depart Rome via the train for the medieval city of Orvieto, a sprawling fortress town on the top of a commanding plateau overlooking the plains of Umbria. With two nights in Orvieto, we’ll tee up with famous Italian photographer and teacher, Alfredo Falvo, and begin our adventure in Umbria.
Orvieto is an amazing medieval town, steeped in history. We’ll be photographing its massive Duomo (Cathedral) and exploring its subterranean passageways that will take us to the Pozzo di San Patrizio (the Well of St Patrick) and the Orvieto Underground, a spectacular adventure into the ancient city below, which dates back to more than 2500 years ago!
Umbria is a land of hill forts and rugged landscapes and we use Orvieto as our base to explore the surrounding region. We will photograph the sunset at Civita di Bagno Reggio, an abandoned city precariously perched on a steep mountain and accessed only by a narrow causeway. We also discover the winding streets and precipitous views from medieval fortress cities of Pitigliano and Sovana. We’ll spend a day discovering these ancient cities, as well as visiting the ancient via cava — the subterranean roads created by the Etruscans of old, a civilisation that predates the Romans in Italy, including a visit to the eerie Necropolis of the Etruscans, where we will see the unique dovecote tombs of the rulers of this ancient civilisation.
DAYS 5 – 8: THE TUSCAN COUNTRYSIDE
After Orvieto, we journey northwards into the heart of Tuscany, where we have four glorious days to well and truly explore its rustic Italian charm: winding roads edges with cypress pines, old farm houses perched on rolling hills and old stone towns. This is Alfredo’s home and a landscape which he knows intimately.
Our home in the Tuscan countryside is the hilltop town of Montepulciano, in the very heart of the Val D’Orcia (the Orcia Valley) – the very land that has inspired countless paintings and photographs; the landscape that we imagine when we think of the classical Italian countryside. As we are visiting in Spring, the land will be covered in lush green grass and new crops, interspersed with olive groves, vineyards and cypresses.
The photography here is spectacular, and we will be chasing the light here with landscape photography excursions across the valleys at sunrise and sunset, taking in the meandering roads, lone chapels and farm houses dotting the landscape. If we’re lucky, we will have misty mornings where the undulating lines of the landscape will emerge out of the mist like a fairytale landscape. We will immerse ourselves in Tuscan life and culture, as we embark on street photography in the narrow lanes and cobblestone piazza of hilltop towns and, of course, you’ll have enough leisure time to explore and shop.
From wine-tasting in a medieval cantina in Montefollonico, to street photography in beautiful Pienza, this leg of our tour is designed to give you the complete experience of Tuscany. In addition to exploring the undulating countryside near the medieval towns of Montefollonico, Pienza, Asciano and the Creta Senesi (a beautiful region of fantastic landscapes), we will also visit the famed city of Siena, with time to photograph its famous Piazza del Campo and the Torre del Mangia, and to perhaps savour the incredible mouth-watering gooey hazelnut and marscapone with burnt fig gelato that’s famous in this city!
Included in our Tuscan experience are a number of gastronomic highlights: wine tasting in a medieval wine cellar, a visit to a traditional organic farm to sample cheese and wine and traditional lunch at Bagno Vignoni, a town known for its terme (hot springs), and Dopolavora la Foce. Your taste buds may never be the same again after our time here!
DAYS 9 – 11: FLORENCE – CITY OF THE MEDICIS
From the rustic beauty of the Tuscan countryside, we journey to the last destination of our tour — the magnificent city of Florence (Firenze), with its grand architecture and photogenic bridges spanning the River Arno.
We have two nights in Florence, which gives us ample time to truly immerse ourselves in a city famed for its art, history and culture, and to sample its scrumptious fare.
Florence offers fantastic street photography opportunities in its streets and public squares, including Piazza della Signoria with its classical fountains and the Loggia di Lenzi, which houses some of the most famous sculptures from the Italian Renaissance. You’ll also have time to stroll and shop in Florence, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city of the Medicis.
We will also be capturing some of the amazing views of Florence at sunrise and sunset — notably the iconic Ponte Vecchio, the famous bridge spanning the Arno River, and the view of Florence bathed in the warm glow of sunset, captured from the heights of Piazzale Michelangelo.
Our photography (and gastronomic) tour of Italy concludes in Florence, from which you are able to extend your onward journey in Italy or return to Rome to connect with your flight home. With hearts full with all things Italian, we bid each other farewell as we continue our journey, knowing that we will return to this enchanting country again and again to taste once more La Dolce Vita!
It does not matter which stage of photography you are at, there will be plenty to keep you occupied. Ruins, famous landmarks, castles, churches, statues, rivers, bridges, sunsets and sunrises, gorgeous old streets, people, quaint shops and houses, food and stunning countryside.
If you are an enthusiastic amateur (like us) Seng and his assistant are on hand all the time to make sure you are comfortable with camera settings and anything else you need to know about your camera. Seng has a great deal of patience, especially when I had senior moments and forgot what he had told me two days before. Shades of Groundhog Day!
This was our first visit to Italy, we loved the tour and the company. One day we would like to go again. It was our third trip with Seng Mah. Highly recommended.
I recently returned from the tour of Italy with Venture Photography. This was the first photography tour I have done, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was everything that I hoped it would be. Seng provided a personalised tour experience and was consistently available to help and share his skills and knowledge.
The tour included so many iconic locations and beautiful scenery to shoot – at times it was difficult to know where to point the camera as we were overwhelmed by the scene before us. Each location was different and offered and wide range of subjects. My tour companions were a great bunch of people to travel with and we had lots of fun and laughs exploring Italy with our lenses. If an Italy tour comes up again with Venture it will be hard to pass it by. It was a busy tour but one I will never forget. Thank you Seng.
A deposit of AUD$2000* will secure your place on this tour. This deposit is refundable if the tour does not go ahead (we require a minimum of 4 guests to run this tour; you’ll be informed if the tour does not run when bookings close on 30 November 2019).
Final payment of the balance by 20 December 2019.
Our Agent, Globetrotter, would be happy to help with booking your international flights, travel insurance offering a 20% discount off policy cost (subject to terms and conditions of policy provider) and has pre-tour and post-tour activities and accommodation.
Some pre- and post-tour options may include:
If you would like to more information about the pre-tour and post-tour accommodation and activities, please let us know in the Comments section of the booking form below and we can put you directly in contact with Globetrotter.
For details of the Terms and Conditions of our tours, including cancellation charges, please read our Photography Tours Terms and Conditions.
To join this tour or contact us with your questions, please use the form below or email seng [at] venturephotography.com.au or telephone 0417 604 614.