• July 3 to July 12, 2017 (9 nights)
• Group size: min 5, max 12
• Cost: $4,995, single supplement $650
• Tour starts & ends in Rome
Photograph 3 stunning highlights of Italy: The outrageous profusion of wildflowers on Piano Grande, the charm of Tuscany and the striking photo opportunities of Lazio.
Our Piano Grande & Tuscany Photo Tour combines the amazing wildflower bloom that happens each summer on Umbria’s Piano Grande with the pastoral beauty of Tuscany’s Val d’ Orcia and the excellent location of Lago Bolsena for exploring southern Tuscany and southwest Umbria. We will set foot and stay in three of Italy’s regioni, Umbria, Tuscany and Lazio.
This Piano Grande & Tuscany Photo Tour is timed for us to arrive at the peak of the wildflower bloom high up on Umbria’s Piano Grande. This will be followed with three days in Tuscany’s Val d’ Orcia to photograph the golden fields of wheat and then topped off with two nights in northern Lazio, in Bolsena, to have easy access to the wonderful towns of Pitigliano, Civita di Baneregio, Orvieto and more.
The group will meet at a hotel near the Rome airport where we will spend the first night before heading to the NE for the 3-hour drive to Umbria’s Piano Grande. We will stay at a modern and quaint small hotel in the rustic hill-village of Castelluccio. From here we have easy access to the outrageously colorful wildflower bloom in the lentil and pea fields below. Great photo ops. from above with a long lens capturing graphic patterns of the colorful fields. And then from below, standing on the edges of the fields we will find great perspectives of the riot of color of the wildflowers with Castelluccio, mountains and sky in the background.
We will spend the next two days here in an area that is one of the most beautiful and tranquil in Italy before heading to the NW to our favorite town in all of Tuscany, Pienza. This 14th century hill town sits in the center of the Val d’ Orcia which is perhaps the most photographed area in all of Italy. And for good reason. Within 30 minutes drive from Pienza we encounter at least a half dozen of the most iconic Tuscan images. The famous cypress grove near San Quirico, Belvedere farmhouse, The Chapel of Vitaletta, Il Cipressini farmhouse, Strada per Monticchiello, Strade per La Foce and more. In addition to these famous scenes, Magrit and I have spent many days on our own scouting for new and unique photographic treasures. We know the area very intimately and we know where and when to go to get the great images.
The next stop on our Piano Grande & Tuscany Photo Tour will be 2 hours due south to the lake-side town of Bolsena. This small and charming resort town features grand hotels along a boulevard leading to the lake. We will spend two nights in one of these hotels. This location allows us easy access to the photogenic hill towns of southern Tuscany including Pitigliano, Saturnia, Sovana and others. We will also be close to Orvietto and one of our favorite photo ops., the miniscule and crumbling Civita di Bagnoregio.
Join us for a very special and unique opportunity to capture great images in three of Italy’s regioni.
- The outrageous wildflower bloom on Umbria’s Piano Grande in the Sibylline Mountains National Park.
- The golden rolling fields of Tuscany’s Val d’Orcia and some of the most iconic scenes in all of Italy.
- Two nights in Bolsena, gateway to southern Tuscan hill towns, Orvieto, Umbria and Civita di Bagnoregio, Lazio.
- Breathtaking photo opportunities abound.
- We will also take time to share images and learn post-processing and in-the-field techniques.
- In addition to great photography opportunities we will have time for photo sharing and critiques. We will also be lecturing on photographic topics including:
- Digital Workflow
- Panoramic Photography
- Depth of Field calculation
- Focal Blending
- Blue Hour Photography
- Filters, Neutral Density and Neutral Density Grads
- Photoshop Tips and Tricks
- Nik software
The group meets at our hotel near the Rome airport at 3 pm. We will have an orientation to get to know each other and to go over the agenda and goals for the next nine days. We will have the opportunity to check everybody’s equipment and make sure we are all dialed in with proper camera settings and other basics. Jim will give a short tutorial on correct exposure and the use of the camera’s histogram.
10am departure for the 3 hours drive to the NE to the hill town of Castelluccio on Umbria’s Piano Grande. Afternoon and early evening photography sessions on the Piano Grande. We have planned these dates for the blooming of the wildflowers in the agricultural fields based on knowledge and advice from the residents of this area. We can’t guarantee that we will absolutely time it correctly. Magrit & I were there in 2016 beginning July 1st and departing on July 4th. The colors were definitely better on the 4th, the day we departed.
July 5 & 6
We will spend these two days photographing the fields mainly during the early morning and late afternoon/early evening hours. There are also some great compositions to be had of the hill town of Castelluccio from above. We will have time to rest during the midday hours and to also spend time processing images. One one of these days we will make the journey to the nearby town of Norcia for lunch. Norcia has many great restaurants that feature the areas wonderful food products including sheep cheese, prosciutto, and Monefalco red wine.
10 am departure to the west for the 3 hour drive to Pienza in the heart of the Val d’ Orcia. Lunch stop in route. After check in we will explore this delightful hill town and after an early dinner head out for a sunset photo session.
July 8 & 9
Two full days exploring and photographing the amazing Val d’ Orcia.
10 am departure for the 2 hour drive south to Bolsena, our home base for the next two evenings. After check in and lunch in Bolsena, we head east to explore Orvieto and a stop at Civita di Bagnoregio on the way home. Early dinner and early to bed for next morning early departure.
4 am departure for Civita di Bagnoregio the amazing hill town 25 minutes away in Lazio. With luck we will experience some mist in the valley to enhance the warm pre sunrise tones in the sky surrounding the village. Blue hour session and sunrise before heading back to our cosy hotel in Bolsena for breakfast and a big nap! In the afternoon we will explore and photograph the villages to the east of Bolsena, with a sunset session of the amazing hill town of Pitigliano. Early dinner in Pitigliano before the photo session.
9:30 am we depart by van for the 2 hour drive to Rome Airport.
Dates: July 3 to July 12, 2017 (9 nights)
Cost: $4,995 | single supplement $650
Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.
A $500 deposit will secure your spot. Click here to make your deposit »
What is included?
- 9 nights lodging.
- 3 dinners(Castelluccio)
- All breakfasts.
- Daily van transportation to photo locations
- All entrance fees and tolls
- Jim’s & Magrit’s expertise in guiding and photographic instruction
Level of physical difficulty: 2.5 out of 5
Some walking in the field on uneven surfaces. Length of one walk will be approximately one mile round trip.
For Terms & Conditions and insurance recommendations, please click here »
Take 5% off of the total costs of any tours when you sign up for 2 or more.
Personal Items and Weather Conditions
Temperature range for this time of year: Piano Grande: 62-83° F; Tuscany & Bolsena: 61-83° F
Average monthly rainfall for this time of year: Piano Grande: 2 inches(4 days of rain average); Tuscany & Bolsena: 2 inches(6 days of rain average)
-Plan for hot weather so pack accordingly. Shorts or capri style pants are nice. Long pants for in the field can be useful. Rain is possible but not likely but I always have at least a light weight rain jacket and umbrella. The umbrella can be nice to provide shade as well.
– A hat for sun and rain protection.
– A camera backpack with enough room for carrying your camera equipment as well as protective clothing
– A lightweight tripod that will properly support your camera and lenses: Please contact us if you are unsure about your tripod or for suggestions about what to purchase. We have a lot to say about tripods as we have seen many inadequate models on our tours. We highly suggest a ball head that is Arca-Swiss compatible (this has to do with the quick release plates that you mount to your camera body and large lenses). We also suggest an L-bracket plate if you want to shoot panoramas in the vertical mode or, in general, often shoot verticals. Really Right Stuff and the cheaper Sunway are all good sources.
– A circular polarizer
– A headlamp: Home Depot has some quite adequate and inexpensive models.
– Motion sickness pills if you suffer from windy roads while driving
– Sunscreen and bug repellent.
– Lightweight but sturdy shoes for walking: We use Salomon trail running shoes and do not worry about waterproof features.
– An extra pair of shoes or sandals for evenings.
– Small travel umbrella which can be used for rain and sun.
We find that the general-purpose zoom, 24-70mm on a full frame sensor, is the most commonly used lens. An ultra wide, 16-35mm zoom on a full frame sensor is useful as well. Jim likes the 70-200 range or even the 100-400 range for Piano Grande and Tuscany.
For equipment recommendations, please click here »