Massa Marittima and beyond

Climbs and views!

As ost of our explorations have been further into the hills, there was definitely room for a trip that used the other direction, toward the Mediterranean.  Relatviely close to where we are staying, we found Massa Marittima, a lovely little town with some seriously climbing streets!

Upon entering Massa Marittima, we found ourselves in a lovely piazza with the main palazzo and the cathedral of San Cerbone, who was a bishop in this region during barbaric times (6th century C.E.) with the rather unpopular habit of saying mass at the break of dawn on Sunday rather than waiting for a respectable hour.  This got him in trouble with Pope Vigilius, who recalled him to Rome.  During his trip to Rome he performed several miracles, such as healing and taming wild geese by making the sign of the cross.  In Rome, he woke Pope Vigilius up early stating that it was time for mass, as the angels were signing; Vigilius agreed that he heard heavenly voices too, and allowed Cerbone to perform mass at any time of his choosing after that.

The lower part of Massa Marittima is wonderful, but the best views are found by going up toward the Torre del Candeliere and taking in the view from atop this tower; the climb inside the tower is not for the faint of heart, but you are rewarded with a phenomenal view.

After working up an appetite, stop by il Gatto e la Volpe (the cat and the fox), in one of many alleys for a phenomenal meal.  The Etruscan style rabbit was amazing and dessert was simply stunning.

After some further driving around and dipping toes in the Mediterranean by Follonica, we were looking for some gelato and wound up in Scarlino; this sleepy little town is the home of the Rocca Aldobrandesca, an old fortress built by the Aldobrandeschi family.  Getting out of town was an adventure, as I got to go down some steep, narrow streets that were made for nothing much larger than our little Fiat 500.

Author: jansenphoto

A Fresh Perspective Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment. Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael. My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals. Universal Connections My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation. This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections. Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client. And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!

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