BEHIND THE SHOT

— The stories behind locations and shooting  —

- BUCOLICO ITALIANO -

As I often do, I happen to return to the same place on more than one occasion. May be for the ambient light changes during the hours of the day or for the changing of light of the seasons, for the reason that you have completely different results, or may be I happened to enter in early moments of my career where the photographic abilities were not current.

In this situation we are in the second case, I had to go back in August morning, immediately after waking up from my sleep in the car nearby (my “adventurous” trips require me to spend nights in my car, with due organization, but this is another story).

We are located on a Tuscan hill, in the midst of many olive trees. The villa in question, despite not having particular difficulties in entering (you can easily pass in the open door of the photo) is however adjacent to a house that shares part of the territory around the villa with various crops. And curious people are not always frowned upon.

Therefore, as the manual of the experienced explorer demands, I have moved with a preventive shrewdness with the maximum degree of silence in walking towards the villa. I moved like a ghost along the way, sensing at some point in the adjacent fields an early man dedicated to working. I climbed sideways, not to be noticed, on the slightly steep ground at the base of the villa and then moved as quickly as possible on the beautiful front staircase, decaying and full of shrubs, leading to the entrance door.

A front door that already wanted to tell me what I would find inside. In fact, an arched writing stands out on the door and reads in clear fonts “Bellavista” (Beautiful sight), a kind anticipation.

There, I was welcomed by the main hall, the real protagonist of the villa, with an enveloping fresco that started from the walls and continued up to the ceiling.

It’s amazing how such beautiful buildings can stay open without anyone closing them. And it is even more fortunate that vandals do not take them by siege (one of the reasons why serious explorers tend not to reveal the name of the places).

The morning sun was in the right place, bringing in a strong summer light. On the side walls were painted idealized Italian bucolic landscapes, typical of the Romantic period.

The blue of the walls reflects the blue sky of the landscape making the guest feel like he was outside and not inside a building.

But the most artistic and original part is undoubtedly represented by the four corners of the wall from which fake rods of a frescoed gazebo stand, particularly elaborate in the details. Exotic parrots are watching me from above, as if they were stuffed into the plaster.

Many photographers have photographed this room but few have managed to represent in a single image all the overall majesty of the room, for obvious limitations of space and wide-angle lenses. With elaborate techniques I managed to represent the whole room in its magnificence without neglecting any detail. The result: an uncommon work worthy of being part of my limited editions.

The rest of the villa presented mostly disorder and structural failure. But there were also other particular elements that caught my attention: a beautiful Singer sewing machine put on a coffee table and an old piano consumed by time and relegated to the cellar of the house.

I left the place with a mixture of satisfaction and melancholy. Glad to have immortalized with my shots, and partly saved in memory, a room that maybe will see a bad end, as it happens to too many other rooms that I encounter in my explorations.

Come mi succede spesso, mi capita di tornare nello stesso posto in più di un’occasione. Vuoi perchè la luce ambientale cambia con l’orario della giornata o col variare delle stagioni, e quindi si hanno risultati completamente differenti, o vuoi che mi è capitato di entrarci in momenti iniziali della mia carriera dove le capacità fotografiche non erano quelle attuali.
In questa situazione ci troviamo nel secondo caso, son dovuto tornarci una mattina di Agosto, subito dopo essermi svegliato dal mio dormire in auto nei suoi pressi (i miei viaggi “avventurosi” mi impongono di trascorrere le notti in auto, con la dovuta organizzazione, ma questa è un’altra storia).
 
Ci troviamo su una collina toscana, in mezzo a numerosi ulivi. La villa in questione, pur non avendo particolari difficoltà nell’introdursi (si passa agevolmente nel portone aperto della foto) è comunque adiacente ad un’abitazione che condivide parte del territorio attorno alla villa con varie coltivazioni. E non sempre i curiosi sono visti di buon occhio.
 
Quindi, come il manuale del provetto esploratore richiede, mi son mosso con una preventiva accortezza col massimo grado di silenzio nell’incamminarmi verso la villa. Mi sono mosso come un fantasma lungo la strada, avvertendo ad un certo punto nei campi adiacenti un uomo mattiniero dedito a lavorare nei campi. Mi sono inerpicato lateralmente, per non dare nell’occhio, sul terreno leggermente ripido alla base della villa per poi spostarmi il più velocemente possibile sulla bellissima scalinata frontale, decadente e piena di arbusti, che conduceva al portone d’ingresso.
 
Un portone d’ingresso che già voleva anticiparmi cosa avrei trovato dentro. Infatti una scritta ad arco si stagliava sul portone e recitava a caratteri chiari “Bellavista”, una gentile anticipazione.
 
Lì mi accoglieva il salone principale, il vero protagonista della villa, con un affresco avvolgente che partiva dai muri e proseguiva fin sopra il soffitto.
 
E’ incredibile come certi palazzi così belli riescano a rimanere aperti senza che nessuno li chiuda. Ed è ancora più una fortuna che vandali non li prendano d’assedio (una delle motivazioni per i quali si tende a non rivelare il nome dei posti).
 
Il sole del mattino era posizionato al punto giusto, facendo entrare una forte luce estiva. Sulle pareti laterali erano dipinti paesaggi bucolici italiani idealizzati, tipici del periodo romantico.
 
L’azzurro della pareti rispecchia il cielo azzurro del paesaggio facendo sentire l’ospite come fosse all’esterno e non all’interno di un edificio.
 
Ma la parte più artistica ed originale è rappresentata senza dubbio dai quattro angoli del muro da cui si levano delle finte aste di un gazebo affrescato, particolarmente elaborato nei dettagli. Pappagallini esotici mi osservano dall’alto, quasi fossero imbalsamati nell’intonaco.
 
Molti fotografi hanno fotografato questa stanza ma in pochi son riusciti a rappresentare in una singola immagine tutta la maestosità complessiva della stanza, per ovvi limiti di spazio e lenti grandangolari. Con particolari tecniche elaborate son riuscito invece a rappresentare tutta la stanza nella sua magnificenza senza tralasciare nessun particolare. Il risultato: un’opera non comune degna di far parte delle mie edizioni limitate.
 
Il resto della villa presentava perlopiù disordine e cedimenti strutturali. Ma erano presenti anche altri elementi particolari che hanno catturato comunque la mia attenzione: una bellissima macchina da cucire Singer messa su un tavolino ed un vecchio pianoforte consumato dal tempo e relegato nella cantina dell’abitazione.
 
Ho lasciato il posto con un misto di soddisfazione e malinconia. Contento di aver immortalato coi miei scatti,ed in parte salvato nel ricordo, una stanza che forse vedrà una brutta fine, come succede a troppe altre stanze che incontro nelle mie esplorazioni.

As I often do, I happen to return to the same place on more than one occasion. May be for the ambient light changes during the hours of the day or for the changing of light of the seasons, for the reason that you have completely different results, or may be I happened to enter in early moments of my career where the photographic abilities were not current.

In this situation we are in the second case, I had to go back in August morning, immediately after waking up from my sleep in the car nearby (my “adventurous” trips require me to spend nights in my car, with due organization, but this is another story).

We are located on a Tuscan hill, in the midst of many olive trees. The villa in question, despite not having particular difficulties in entering (you can easily pass in the open door of the photo) is however adjacent to a house that shares part of the territory around the villa with various crops. And curious people are not always frowned upon.

Therefore, as the manual of the experienced explorer demands, I have moved with a preventive shrewdness with the maximum degree of silence in walking towards the villa. I moved like a ghost along the way, sensing at some point in the adjacent fields an early man dedicated to working. I climbed sideways, not to be noticed, on the slightly steep ground at the base of the villa and then moved as quickly as possible on the beautiful front staircase, decaying and full of shrubs, leading to the entrance door.

A front door that already wanted to tell me what I would find inside. In fact, an arched writing stands out on the door and reads in clear fonts “Bellavista” (Beautiful sight), a kind anticipation.

There, I was welcomed by the main hall, the real protagonist of the villa, with an enveloping fresco that started from the walls and continued up to the ceiling.

It’s amazing how such beautiful buildings can stay open without anyone closing them. And it is even more fortunate that vandals do not take them by siege (one of the reasons why serious explorers tend not to reveal the name of the places).

The morning sun was in the right place, bringing in a strong summer light. On the side walls were painted idealized Italian bucolic landscapes, typical of the Romantic period.

The blue of the walls reflects the blue sky of the landscape making the guest feel like he was outside and not inside a building.

But the most artistic and original part is undoubtedly represented by the four corners of the wall from which fake rods of a frescoed gazebo stand, particularly elaborate in the details. Exotic parrots are watching me from above, as if they were stuffed into the plaster.

Many photographers have photographed this room but few have managed to represent in a single image all the overall majesty of the room, for obvious limitations of space and wide-angle lenses. With elaborate techniques I managed to represent the whole room in its magnificence without neglecting any detail. The result: an uncommon work worthy of being part of my limited editions.

The rest of the villa presented mostly disorder and structural failure. But there were also other particular elements that caught my attention: a beautiful Singer sewing machine put on a coffee table and an old piano consumed by time and relegated to the cellar of the house.

I left the place with a mixture of satisfaction and melancholy. Glad to have immortalized with my shots, and partly saved in memory, a room that maybe will see a bad end, as it happens to too many other rooms that I encounter in my explorations.