Photography and connection | Experience with locals in Tuscany

Photography and connection | Experience with locals in Tuscany

Photography and connection

If you’re like us, you have desperately missed being together with other people. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reflect on values such as ethics and solidarity. While shooting our visual diary we understood how it’s important for our little family to be a part of a community. Naturally, all of that had an impact on the way we work as a couple and family photographers.

Working for travelers

 Since we launched our project in 2012, we’ve enjoyed working mostly for travelers from all over the world. That offered us great opportunities to meet people from different countries, delivering something valuable, while doing what we love. On the other hand, restrictions on travel hit global tourism hard, including Florence and Tuscany, where we live. Here, the local economy relies greatly on tourism. As a consequence, hotels and local businesses had to close and many people are struggling to make ends meet.

Building memories and relations

After the lockdown, we’ve been invited to organize an exhibition, and many friends and former clients contributed with a donation to our fundraising campaign. Despite being so far apart, that reminded us that we were not alone. And that was in great part thanks to the connections that we built through our job.

While coping with physical distance in a ‘Social Distance’ era, we wondered how we could navigate this new landscape as image-makers. How to create photos that naturally show love and connection.

What makes a trip memorable?

If you have missed the chance to travel, you probably want something to look forward to. Your next trip should be something special: not an ordinary vacation but a once-in-a-lifetime event. To make up for the lost time we put ourselves into our clients’ shoes: what makes a trip memorable?

For sure it’s not only what you see, but rather the experiences you have, and an essential part of it is the people you meet. By interacting with locals, our perspectives on the world will broaden, a better understanding rises and friends will be made.

A genuine experience with locals

The best thing we could offer is to share our connections with our clients, to create an even better service for them. As you will see, that’s more than just getting recommendations from those that live in the area. We spent a half-day with a couple – but that could be perfect for a family, too – in the company of our good Tuscan friends. We captured their candid emotions while they visited a historical family home or had a glass of Brunello di Montalcino.

However, if you read until here, you are looking for more than just a one-hour photoshoot. Just because of this, we’d love to work with you – we only take on a single client per day. So, we’re excited to introduce you to our world.

Our friendship with Lorenza and her family

We met Lorenza while working with her daughter Luisa for a wedding at the Agriturismo il Rigo. Luisa contacted us first, back in 2014, but that story would take another article – which we might write soon. When Lorenza’s husband, Vittorio, turned 70, they came up with a wonderful surprise birthday party idea. At first, we’d pretend to take some family photos around Il Rigo.

Later on, though, we had to capture the real surprise: the family and a bunch of friends would wait for him at home. It was a wonderful day, and it was great to be a part of it. So, in the end, the party was perfect, and those memories strengthened our friendship.

Vittorio, Lorenza and their family in front of Agriturismo il Rigo

We’ve been many times in San Quirico, bringing our family and close friends for a dinner, or just recommending Il Rigo to some of our closest clients. That was also the first place where we traveled as soon as we could drive away from Florence, after the first lockdown in May. When our son Umberto came to this world, Lorenza even came visiting us with a pair of little knitted shoes for him. Vittorio and her also supported our exhibition and came to see the show in San Salvi.

 

Vittorio and Lorenza in their garden at Casa dell'Abate Naldi

La Casa dell’Abate Naldi

 

That’s why we loved the concept of a photo shoot at their historical family home in San Quirico d’Orcia: la Casa dell’Abate Naldi. Below, we’ll share with you the pictures of a lovely couple of guests of Lorenza and Vittorio. They invited us to enjoy the stories behind the objects, the view from the tower, and the taste of their recipes.

So, we invite you to scroll down and follow the steps of Serena and Cesare through the alleys of the medieval hamlet. They will find the XVII century’s building right in the middle of the main street, via Dante Alighieri. Let’s ring the bell, and the adventure begins.

La casa dell'Abate Naldi

Feeling at home

While we run our photo sessions mostly outdoors, it’s nice to include some original Tuscan interior in our pictures – especially when it’s pretty cold outside! Lorenza and her cat Papaya warm welcome us upstairs with a bright smile and an upright tail.

The light comes through two large windows, so we just let our guests chat and relax. We can take it easy, snapping some candid shots while Lorenza starts to talk about the history of this place, showing us old maps and decorations. Visiting a house like this, guided by the owner, is a unique experience. After a few minutes, we already feel at home too.

 

Historic map of San Quirico

Lorenza showing great-grandma Emma's tableware - late nineteenth century, hand painted

the drawing room

Gorgeous colorful fresh flowers by Luisa Cipolla

Vittorio is passionate about history. His ancestors have been living here since 1684.

Slow living

Among the many things we believe in, we loved the slow living concept. As we quote from Lorenza and Vittorio’s website www.abatenaldi.com – we couldn’t have said it better:

“How do you live today in a home which dates from the XVII century while respecting its heritage not only from an architectural point of view but remembering also the stories of the family that has lived here since 1684?
Vittorio and Lorenza will tell you about their love of this house, how they learned to live at a slower pace, the necessary improvements they made, and how they decided to open its doors, to keep it alive, and to share their passions with others; history, agriculture, cooking, and music.”

The following picture of Vittorio lighting candles on the fireplace is one of our favorites and sums up pretty well the cozy feeling of being at the Casa dell’Abate Naldi.

the dining room

Experience the taste

After taking care of the kitchen at the Agriturismo Il Rigo, Lorenza has been organizing cooking classes for many years.

At the end of the visit, we enjoyed some delicious cheesy oatmeals together with a glass of Gewurztraminer, sitting next to the fireplace.

Lorenza serving her savory cheesy oatmeals

and a glass of Gewurztraminer: Salute!

Casa dell'Abate Naldi houses many works of art

Alabaster lamp by sculptor Piercarlo Manfredi

Hand-carved wooden swallow by artist Francesco Ciabatti

Climbing the tower

The house also has a small tower overlooking the roofs and the Horti Leonini, the 16th century Italian garden of San Quirico. After a short, steep climb to the top of the building, Serena and Cesare can relax and enjoy a wonderful view of the Val d’Orcia hills.

the view on the garden side

The garden has two levels

We could even spot the Agriturismo Il Rigo!

Cosmos flowers blooming in the garden

A quote from James Joyce's Ulysses

Our journey continues

The visit at the Casa dell’Abate Naldi is almost over, but the journey – and the photoshoot – continues. Before leaving Lorenza and Vittorio’s home, we find an open book on a table, full of beautiful photos representing the Tuscan countryside. Between the pages, we find this quote from James Joyce’s Ulysses:

“Every life is many days, day after day. We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love. But always meeting ourselves.”

We thought about that while heading to Bagno Vignoni, and later, to Montalcino. Thanks to our work we’ve met so many different people, and we’ve visited places that we never thought we’d see in our lives. Also, while writing this article, we realize that most of our clients have been moved by the same feelings. That makes us feel happier, more connected to others, and genuinely appreciative.

Bagno Vignoni pool square

Lunch break in Bagno Vignoni

NostraVita

After a lunch break in Bagno Vignoni, we headed directly to our next location. Each one of these little Tuscan towns would deserve an article for themselves, but this time we didn’t have more time to spend, since we planned to visit NostraVita. So, after a quick shot by the thermal pool, we jumped back in our cars and we continue our journey.

NostraVita (literally “OurLife”) is the name that the Parisi family gave to the winery born in 2000. The property rests between the town of Montalcino and the ancient Sant’Antimo Abbey. What makes this place a special place? A combination of several aspects. Quoting from their website – which we invite you to check out:

“Nothing at Nostra Vita is a result of mass production. Every passage from the vineyard to the bottle is personally and lovingly taken care of.”

Annibale and his whole family take care of all the work on the vineyard. With his daughter Carlotta, he paints every label of their Brunello bottles.

On the other hand, our visit is not just about wine, but also about art and nature.

More than just wine

A centuries-old oak-tree – just like the one we have in our logo – stands in the garden, surrounded by sculptures and installations.

“NostraVita also offers artists creative spaces where they can give voice to their own take on the organic relationship between Nature and Art.”

That, more than anything else, perhaps made us feel at home once again. There’s tangible, ever-present consideration to nature, art, and humanity at the same time. Annibale welcomed us and treated us all in the most friendly way, even though we never met him before. He showed us the whole property, including the “Arborario” – the ‘tree library’, that he created with Mario Morellini.

We had a very enjoyable few hours, and we wished we weren’t leaving.

A stroll in the vineyard

Local photographers in Tuscany

So, you were looking just for local photographers in Tuscany, but perhaps if you made it until here, we managed to capture your attention. We’re offering not a simple photoshoot, but an immersive experience in Tuscany and its culture. If you find something familiar in these photos and you think that they match your preferences and tastes, then we might be on the same page.

 The best way to know if we could be a fit for your vacation is to set up a meeting or call. We also understand that everyone has a different budget. For this reason, we encourage you to contact us to discuss a tailored package to fit your specific needs.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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