Shiny moment in Chiusdino

Shining light

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the wonderful theme of ooh, Shiny!; of course, this did generate some ideas, but I landed somewhere unexpected….

As I still had my Lightroom catalog from our trip to la Bella Italia open, why not take a browse?  That led me to the little village of Chiusdino, nearby where we stayed in the hamlet of Colordesoli (37 inhabitants).  It was a wonderful stay that allowed us to find the Abbey of San Galgano…

2017-05-21-Chiusdino-i7p-17.18
Abbey of San Galgano

A simple iPhone image, as we were just wandering around on our first day in Tuscany.  The location was simple magic and filled with spiritual energy, that was amplified by the stunning Sun!

Hope you enjoy!

The Ancient Elements – Earth

Mother Earth’s children

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the wonderful theme of Elemental; I’ll be sure to cover all the Ancient Elements of Fire, Water, Earth and Air during this week, as each has presented ample opportunities to me photographically.

In a break from the earlier posts in this series, I am going with a representational image for the Elemental of Earth.  In this image, we look toward the strong connection that humanity has with the earth for its sustenance, materials, living space and many other aspects of our daily lives…

 

20170526-Tuscan-Fields_DSF1872_3_4_tonemapped
Fields of Tuscany

This image came about from my noticing this particular field, as my wife and I were driving to the town of Pienza in Tuscany.  During the morning there were a number of photographers at this location, so I skipped it, only to find it even more to my liking in the afternoon!

Hope you enjoy!

Tuscan Rooftops – pt. 1

Shouting about rooftops!

During our vacation in Italy, I got plenty of opportunity to photograph the rooftops in a number of cities.  So, why not do a series of posts on rooftops.

This first installment is from the lovely hilltown of Massa Marittima.  In this town, we encountered some of the longest, steep climbs, as we made our way to the top to climb even further up the Torre del Candeliere, which provided the first view…

20170526-Massa-Marittima_DSF1965_6_7_tonemapped
Looking over Massa Marittima

The second image is from walking along those steep streets to catch wonderful views that combine both the old and new…

20170526_Massa-Marittima_DSF2023_4_5_Enhancer
Old and New

Many more to come!

Walking through Montepulciano

A first look

Montepulciano is a medieval and Renaissance hill town and comune in the Italian province of Siena in southern Tuscany. It sits high on a 605-metre (1,985 ft) limestone ridge, 13 kilometres (8 mi) east of Pienza, 70 kilometres (43 mi) southeast of Siena, 124 kilometres (77 mi) southeast of Florence, and 186 kilometres (116 mi) north of Rome by car.

Montepulciano is a major producer of food and drink. Renowned for its pork, cheese, “pici” pasta, lentils, and honey, it is known worldwide for its wine. Connoisseurs consider its Vino Nobile, which should not be confused with varietal wine merely made from the Montepulciano grape, among Italy’s best.

Walking through Montepulciano was an absolute joy with many small alleys and narrow streets that are always picturesque.  As you can see from the photos, you get a good workout, as many streets and alleys are steep.

Looking over the valley

Val d’Orcia vista

One more look from Pienza!  I just couldn’t resist to process one of the images today (between work assignments) and share this one with you.

Mid-way between Montalcino and Montepulciano, Pienza has a marvelous view of Val d’Orcia.

20170525-Pienza_DSF1779_80_81_Italia
Valley View

Sitting well above the valley floor, Pienza presents some amazing vistas, such as this one.

A Walk through Pienza – pt. 2

More alleys, and food!

I may have pulled up lame during the relay race at work today due to tearing my hamstring, but there will be more images from Italy!  Reduced mobility will keep me in the house more and with less to distract me, such as those great long runs, my time will be spent on photo editing and music!

Both will be the better of it, I hope.

Pecorino de Pienza

Pienza is also the city of cacio, which means cheese! The Pecorino of Pienza is a tasty cheese made from sheep’s milk, renowned worldwide and delicious, which can go from a delicate flavor to a decisive one based on how aged it is.

The town streets are full of small charming shops selling a large quantity of various types of pecorino, from fresh to aged pecorico, that you can taste together with a number of other typical local products, such as fine wines, spices, pici (handmade pasta) and so on. We recommend stopping and tasting!  Best of both worlds is mixing the pici with the cheese in the famous dish: pici con cacio e pepe.

Cheese shops are on just about every street and alley, and can be tasted in the great restaurants.  Our choice of restaurant was La Buca di Enea on Via della Buca; this small restaurant was phenomenal with excellent food (great cheese), a friendly proprietor, who was nice enough to offer us a free digestif at the end of our meal.

A Walk through Pienza – pt. 1

A renaissance experiment

In the continuing quest to edit my photographs from our trip to Italy, I decided to let my interests in the image follow a meandering path that had me stopping by the town of Pienza this past weekend.  As I got about half of my images edited, I thought I’d share them today in a first installment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

History

Before the village was renamed to Pienza its name was Corsignano. It is first mentioned in documents from the 9th century. Around 1300 parts of the village became property of the Piccolomini family. after Enghelberto d’Ugo Piccolomini had been enfeoffed with the fief of Montertari in Val d’Orcia by the emperor Frederick II in 1220. In the 13th century Franciscans settled down in Corsignano.

1405 Corsignano was the birthplace of Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini (Italian: Enea Silvio Piccolomini), a Renaissance humanist born into an exiled Sienese family, who later became Pope Pius II. Once he became Pope, Piccolomini had the entire village rebuilt as an ideal Renaissance town and renamed it after himself to Pienza. Intended as a retreat from Rome, it represents the first application of humanist urban planning concepts, creating an impetus for planning that was adopted in other Italian towns and cities and eventually spread to other European centers.

The rebuilding was done by Florentine architect Bernardo Gambarelli (known as Bernardo Rossellino) who may have worked with the humanist and architect Leon Battista Alberti, though there are no documents to prove it for sure. Alberti was in the employ of the Papal Curia at the time and served as an advisor to Pius. Construction started about 1459. Pope Pius II consecrated the Duomo on August 29, 1462, during his long summer visit. He included a detailed description of the structures in his Commentaries, written during the last two years of his life.