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Interesting places

Tuscany, for the landscape lovers

Interesting places

Many people look up suddenly if the middle part of Italy, the „Tuscan landscape” is mentioned. Those who have seen the movie Under the Tuscan Sun will never forget it. The movie was a great success (2004 - Golden Globe-nomination for the best comedy or musical actress: Diane Lane) and it is still popular. Many Americans arrive at this scenic landscape under the influence of the movie, the performance of Frances (Diane Lane) is brilliant as she could abandon herself to the feeling of happiness after lots of afflictions. In my childhood, at the age of 14, I lived in Tuscany for two months. This first experience was so fascinating that I visit this region very often, I have been there at least fifteen times. Its atmosphere is unforgettable, it is the land of nature and culture characterised by wild mountains and geological formations, not to mention the thousands of years old culture and the fantastic small towns established in the 12th or13th century.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM 1/125 sec f/16 ISO 100

A glance at Tuscany

If you want to visit Tuscany first you have to decide which part you are most interested in. Among Hungarians the most known route is Florence – San Gimignano –Pisa. The atmosphere of this wine-growing area can be really experienced in autumn, especially of San Gimignano and its region. In autumn the land is a riot of color and shows the fantastic shades of red, yellow and brown. At dawn misty moods and impressions can be shot but to do this you have to get up much earlier than an average tourist, and you have to select the scene the previous day if possible. Pisa and Florence are the citadels of the Renaissance, one can absorb so varied and plentiful quantities of culture that it could last for a lifetime to tell about what we have seen. In case if we get in after hours of queuing... Do not think that peak season is only in August in Florence: people are flocking here from early spring to late autumn to see the Duomo, the Uffizi Gallery, the Ponte Vecchio, the Palazzo Vecchio, I could go on and on with the sights through pages. After admiring the magnificent and monumental Duomo we can start to analyze and contemplate on the works of the biggest renaissance painters, Botticelli, Leonardo, Raffaello. It is a food for thought how future-proof art is – even in the 21st century millions of people are amazed by the details and fine brush strokes of these centuries-old paintings. Photography is permitted only to a limited extent but by today’s high ISO range cameras we can take quite good photos, even with hand-held or cautiously held up cameras. I recommend the Gorillapod travel tripod for those who do not want blurred pictures but do not want to attract attention with a bigger tripod.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 16-35mm f/2,8 L USM 1/80 sec f/11 ISO 100

Tuscan landscape

If you devote more time to Tuscany, you should not miss Siena. The lands between San Gimignano and Siena are cultivated, so you can photograph characteristic landscapes which are unique in the world.
The story is simple: in the age of the Roman Empire wheat-growing areas and olive groves have been established here to feed millions of soldiers. Tuscan farmers were poor and many of their descendants are still in the traditional farming deal. They produce such a quantity that the cultivated lands has radically transformed the landscape, what modern people find beautiful. The centuries-old traditional farming survived almost intact the modernization, and as a result, many plant and animal species found home in this area. In the spring poppies and white daisies bloom side by side, sometimes in cornfield-sized areas. In the hilly landscape the cypresstreelined roads leading up to farm buildings show an idyllic picture which are admired ornaments of a traveling photographer’s folder.

Maremma National Park

Maremma National Park is situated in South Tuscany, near Grosetto and bordered by the Tyrrhenian Sea. This marshland was first cultivated by the Romans, but remained almost intact and uncultivated from the 18th century. In 1975 a national park called Parco Naturale dell’Uccellina was established here for the protection of species of fauna and flora and to prevent the economic developments which would transform the sight of the region. Here you can photograph fallow deer and night herons without any hide tent, and the intact sandy coast is just amazing.
Photo: © Tamás Imre

Canon EOS 5D Mark II, EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM 1/15 sec f/11 ISO 200
You can ask for a guided tour from the national park center but at certain places you can stay and photograph without holding any permission, after you paid the entrance fee.
I left the most pleasant for the end – sitting by a glass of fiery Tuscan wine, you can ponder about the secret of this awesome land. In this fast-paced, globalized world, you should allow yourself a little relaxation to travel to one of the most beautiful place on earth.
Text: Tamás Imre
Pictures: Anikó Imre and Tamás Imre
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