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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We had come through Switzerland and driven through Tuscany via Umbria to Tivoli in Lazio. The last stopover of our Italy trip in a bright red electric car took us from Orvieto to Florence. If a farewell is to be particularly difficult, one must leave Italy from Florence. Florence would be our last stop together on this trip through Italy. Arriving at the hotel, we found ourselves in rooms overlooking unappealing walls and buildings. The exhaustion of driving was not to overtake us at all. It seemed to me that Piazzale Michelangelo was made for taking farewell pictures of Florence. The walk to Piazzale Michelangelo took us from the hotel next to the Uffizi across an uncharming car bridge to the opposite bank up a steep slope. The photo equipment became heavier, the sun made us even more exhausted. A warm sun greeted us with the last of its summery strength, the arrival of winter already noticeable here.
The sun bathed the city’s buildings in an ever-changing light through shifting clouds. There were not so many visitors in the early afternoon of this Friday, so the corner on the parapet at the front right with the best view of the city was free. Images of cityscapes appeared in my mind’s eye. The Ponte vecchio seemed to me to be made for a photographic city view, which I wanted to make from a series with different exposure levels. In this way, the finest differentiations come into their own best.