• Travel

    Italia bel paese

    A trip to Italy always has the whiff of a quest. We started across the Verzasca Valley, which is in the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland, close to Locarno. Harold couldn’t wait to see and photograph the Ponte dei Salti. There in Lavertezzo, the emerald green Verzasca creek crosses an area of streaky rocks with small depressions where the water collects and does not flow any further.

    Ponte dei salti © Julian Köpke
    Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke

    There was a moment on the day of arrival when seemingly golden light from the late afternoon sun made the hollows look like liquid gold. The next morning, time seemed to stand still, only the electric supply showing the arrival of modernity.

    Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke
    Morning in Verzasca Valley © Julian Köpke

    Stopover in Pavia, whose main dome shows a honeycomb-like structure, especially when using a focal length of 11mm in full frame. The river Ticino flows quietly and slowly, a counterpoint to the traffic noise of sporting Italians. The photo on the right was taken on the Ponte Coperto.

    Wikipedia tells: Pavia Cathedral (Italian: Duomo di Pavia) is a church in Pavia, Italy, the largest in the city and seat of the Diocese of Pavia. © Julian Köpke
    Sunset Pavia (Ponte Coperto) © Julian Köpke

    A short overnight stay in San Gimignano, the next morning still exploring the area at a distance from the old town. A large car park, a charging station for electrical energy in a multi-layered state of construction – in statu nascendi.

    At San Gimignano © Julian Köpke
    San Gimignano sunrise © Julian Köpke

    Arriving in Siena, we immediately studied the cathedral in the light of the afternoon sun. The contrast between inside and outside could not be greater.

    Duomo, Siena © Julian Köpke
    Colonne all'interno del Duomo. Inside the darkness there is structure. © Julian Köpke

    Probably more famous than the cathedral is the Torre del Mangia of the Palazzo Communale. We could see it from the cathedral and from the Piazza del Campo, where the annual Equestrian Festival takes place.

    Torre del Mangia, Siena © Julian Köpke
    Palazzo Communale e Torre del Mangia © Julian Köpke

    In Assisi, the accommodation did not allow us to be creative because it was far too cold. The man who handed over the flat to us could not be described as sober at all.

    Coming down from Rocca Maggiore © Julian Köpke
    Assisi © Julian Köpke

    We took up quarters in San Gemini, Umbria, and roamed the area from there. On the way there, we passed Trevi. The towns are situated on hills, which made them easier to defend in the past. Inside the old cities, you encounter a maze of alleys and bridges between the houses.

    Trevi, Umbria © Julian Köpke
    San Gemini © Julian Köpke

    At the southernmost point of our journey, in Tivoli in Lazio, we began to feel the winter change. The light and the clouds were now becoming more dramatic, the garden of the Villa d’Este was devoid of blooming flowers, the visitors might be fewer than in summer, all the more eager to take a selfie everywhere. With a little patience, it was possible to take pictures without other visitors in them.

    Villa d'Este, Tivoli © Julian Köpke
    Villa d'Este, Tivoli © Julian Köpke

    In Orvieto, in Umbria, north-east of Tivoli, we then found the perfect fog. The entrance with the car a bit tight on both sides, nevertheless we got away without any scratches. The sunset after the foggy day in the medieval quarter of Orvieto with a break in style because of the electric street lamps.

    Avenue of pines on the entrance road to Orvieto © Julian Köpke
    Sunset medieval quartiere Orvieto © Julian Köpke

    The front of the cathedral was for me of outstanding beauty, always accompanied by a demonstration of former power and wealth, yet also of simple beauty. Before sunrise, the building seems almost threatening, the outer splendour only coming to light in the morning.

    Dark Duomo, Orvieto © Julian Köpke
    Piazza Duomo, Orvieto, at sunrise with clouds and rain © Julian Köpke

    On a foggy and rainy day, Orvieto was a good place to pass the time in the Pozzo di San Patrizio or the city’s underground economic spaces dating back 3 millennia. On the Torre del Moro there was fog at first without any view. We were also not really oriented about the points of the compass. We philosophised about Ed Weston and Ansel Adams, who also argued about whether one should hold out in a place or better moving on. Ed Weston was for staying, Ansel Adams for moving on. Harold, however, did not want to accept my suggestion to simply leave the tower on a trial basis, that the fog would have a chance to clear for me. After one and a half hours, the time had come. In just a few minutes, the sunlight broke through the fog of the old town and exposed magnificent compositions.

    Pozzo di San Patrizio © Julian Köpke
    Duomo Orvieto with fog © Julian Köpke

    If a farewell is to be particularly difficult, one must leave Italy from Florence. A warm sun greeted us with the last of its summery strength, the arrival of winter already noticeable here.

    Giardino delle Rose, Florence © Julian Köpke
    Ponte Vecchio, Florence © Julian Köpke
  • Travel

    Alpe di Siusi

    The Icelanders‘ second season: „winter is coming“. In the Dolomites, the onset of winter is felt with the onset of autumn. The first snowfalls above 2500m are visible and the clouds also give it away.

    Winter is coming. Alpe di Siusi. © Julian Köpke

    In the course of a day, the light situation often changes fundamentally, which is what makes the Alpe di Siusi so special for photographers. Craggy rocks and autumnal pastures melt into an almost picturesque overall impression.

    Piz Ridl Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke

    White clouds float light as a feather in the late afternoon sun over the pasture area. It was getting warm once again and our own clothing is not adequate for the second time in the course of the day. Once again, summer unfolds its power.

    Cloud over Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke
    Tourist hike up to Schlern houses © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    High above sea level

    In autumn in South Tyrol, the changeable weather is a series of photographic opportunities. On mountains above 2200m there is already a loose layer of snow. A little below that, autumn shows itself after a hot summer.

    Autumn starts at Alpe di Siusi © Julian Köpke

    The changeability unfolds a grandiose spectacle of clouds and peaks on the Dolomites around the Alpe di Siusi. All you need is a good seat in the café by the cable car to comfortably watch the light change and react to it.

    If it really does rain during the day, a visit to the archaeological museum in Bolzano is a good alternative to board games in the holiday flat. Digital registration is worthwhile, but less significant in autumn.

    The poor man who died 5300 years ago from a painful arrowhead in his left shoulder, probably in shock due to the rupture of the arteria subclavia, is a treasure trove or stroke of luck for science, which has made many research opinions have to be reconsidered.

    The artistic reconstruction of the body by Adrie and Alfons Kennis from the Netherlands does not reflect the finding situation of the glacier mummy. It appears fragile and vulnerable, almost old and tired. One should not be deceived by the physical impression of the fictitious reconstruction. His last ascent from the valley over extremely rough terrain up to the Tiesenjoch at 3210m within about 6 hours was a physical challenge and probably a masterstroke.

    Photography was allowed in the Museum of Bolzano if it was not organic material. This artistic representation made of silicone does not correspond to the finding situation. Ötzi's personal misfortune was a stroke of luck for science. © Julian Köpke