Fortified medieval towns, golden mists in the morning, cobblestone streets, artistic stands of trees, awe inspiring cathedrals -- all of these things are Tuscany plus a lot more. Combine the Tuscan experience with the stunning Cinque Terre Coast, where five colorful villages hug rocky cliffs above the deep blue sea and you've got an Italian experience that will thrill anyone who loves photographing beauty, history, culture, and art. Join Jim and co-leader Ken Koskela for a very special photography tour that offers some of the best photo opportunities in Europe. We take advantage of the best lighting early and late in the day to capture award-winning, fine art images everywhere we go. This is not a trip to be missed.
Day 1, June 9, Saturday. Depart from North America or from other home ports and overnight enroute. Arrive in Florence, Italy (airport code FLR) the next day on October 15.
Day 2, June 10, Sunday. Arrive in Florence, take a taxi to the hotel, and settle in and rest, and we meet as a group for the first time at 6pm in the lobby of the hotel for a meet and greet, an orientation to the tour, and any photography questions you may have can be answered at this time. We then enjoy a welcome dinner. Overnight Florence.
Day 3, June 11, Monday. After breakfast transfer to the train station and head for La Spezia which is the gateway for Cinque Terre. We check into our hotel which is walking distance from the station, have lunch, and then hop on a train for the short ride to one of the iconic villages Cinque Terre -- Manarola. We explore the village and it's beautiful multi-colored houses built into the cliff face, and at dusk we position ourselves to take one of the most beautiful photographs in Italy. We can linger for some night photography and then we head back to La Spezia and overnight.
Day 4, June 12, Tuesday. We begin the day with sunrise at Riomaggiore, another beautiful village, followed by breakfast. You'll want to pay attention to the myriad photogenic details in the village such as colorful mailboxes, doorways, windows, etc. We then return to the hotel and have a presentation on post-processing techniques including replacing the sky. We have lunch and then head to Vernazza where you can gain a dramatic elevated perspective by climbing a well-worn trail up the mountain. From here sunset and twilight is breathtaking. Return to La Spezia and overnight.
Day 5, June 13, Wednesday. We begin the day with a sunrise shoot at Manarola. This is the second shoot in this location as it increases our chances of favorable photography conditions. After breakfast, we say goodbye to Cinque Terra and take the train back to Florence to pick up our vans for Tuscany. From Florence, we drive about two hours to Val D'Orcia in the heart of Tuscany and in the late afternoon check into our perfectly situated hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, we will either have dinner and then photograph the sunset from a beautiful location, or take pictures first and then have dinner. If weather conditions are favorable, we can also do an optional night shoot. Overnight Val D'Orcia.
Days 6 - 8, June 14 - 16, Thursday - Saturday. One of the reasons Tuscany is famous among photographers is that it offers stunning compositions everywhere: isolated stands of trees, winding roads, lone farmhouses, and distant misty mountains. These are the things we'll be focused on. We also visit Pienza and Sienna, towns that offer classic Italian scenes as well as beautiful Medieval architecture. We take advantage of the blue hour, sunrise, and sunset to make our images as visually powerful as possible. We will also take some time out to head to a winery and sample some of the regional wines, and we'll learn how they are produced. Overnight Val D'Orcia.
Day 9, June 17, Sunday. After a final Tuscan sunrise shoot and breakfast, we head back to Florence, anticipating arrival by 2pm. Depending on your flight home, you may need to stay a night (at your own expense) in the beautiful city of Florence and fly home the following day.
Tour cost: $4795. Includes 7 nights lodging based on double occupancy, all ground transportation by van and train, a welcome dinner, a farewell dinner, all breakfasts, entrance fees, all photo instruction, critiques on demand.
Not included: International airfare to and from Florence, all lunches, 5 dinners, alcohol, items of a personal nature.
Single supplement: $600