We have all seen photos of the Tuscan landscape and the beautiful green or gold rolling hills, depending on the time of year. We visited in the spring so all was very lush and green. Photos of Tuscany were responsible for Italy being such a large part of our initial trip to Europe. In particular, I was interested in the often photographed Vitaleta Chapel pictured above. We stayed at a working vineyard and olive farm in San Quirico d’Orcia primarily for me to have easy access to this chapel and many other vistas. As it turns out, the light was never quite right for photographing the chapel, but the surrounding area was still wonderful.
While the vineyard where we stayed was pretty in the right light, capturing it eluded me until our last morning. Instead of using a tripod, I moved the camera in circles to catch the morning light on the vines and flowers, blurring the entire photograph in the process. The result is one of my very favorite photographs. Rose bushes are planted at the end of each row of grapes to act as an early indicator for mildew problems. Since roses are more sensitive to mildew than grapes, when the roses show signs of a problem it is time to take some corrective action in the vineyard.
This photo captures many of the characteristics which make the Tuscany hill towns unique. All have streets made of black cobblestone that have been around since the day of the chariot. Residences have large wooden doors with brass handles in the middle and colorful flower boxes everywhere. There are also 6 inch brass pipes that enter the exterior walls at a height of about the middle of the first floor. The quaint, quiet scene will soon be interrupted by a scooter, motorcycle or Fiat driving 50 KPH. Often a day’s laundry will be hung out to dry, adding to the scene.