BEHIND THE SHOT

— The stories behind locations and shooting  —

- RISE OF APOLLO -

Few abandoned buildings are able to arouse wonder for the richness of the furnishings and details. This building, although completely devoid of furnishings, is one of my 20 best buildings visited in my multi-year career as an explorer.

The thing that most surprised me about the frescoes on the ceilings and walls was the hand made of these masterpieces of painting. Rarely in abandoned places have I admired so much skill and realism in style and execution, these even reminded me of some frescoes made by Raphael seen on some ceilings of the Vatican Museums in Rome.

But let’s take a step back.

When I found out about the large building in question, I also had news of imminent restoration work to probably turn the building into a luxury hotel.

So I decided to go there as soon as possible to avoid not being able to access it anymore because of the restoration and not to photograph so much beauty in its phase of decay, which is the characteristic of my works.

It was a Saturday in May 2021 when I decided to set off. When I arrived at noon, I noticed that the palace stands on a kind of high ground. I manage to sneak quite easily through the fence of the park that surrounds the building (less time to figure out how to enter is equivalent to more time to take pictures!).

The only access to the structure seemed to be at the back. A paved road full of wild bushes went up laterally around the building.

Suddenly known laterally and on the back classic building renovation elements: external scaffolding material, container with inside construction equipment and even worse, for my unwanted presence, a pickup truck and a car. And they seemed to be parked recently…

The instant thought is that there were people at work inside, but when, hidden behind some hedges, I didn’t hear any noise inside, I decided to venture inside with great caution and doubts about the integrity of the internal decay.

Was I too late?

By my great luck the interior still maintained a status of neglect. The large frescoed halls on the ceilings made me enthusiastic. In addition, the central main staircase had on the first floor a beautiful colonnade that looked almost like an oracle temple of ancient Greece.

I lost a bit of time exploring the halls but then I started shooting vehemently with my old goal Tamron 15-30.

At some point, however, I hear noises outside the back and I realize that a couple of workers are near the external vehicles. The thought was that before they were on break and now they were back to continue work. Obviously the main thought was to leave as soon as possible.

However, it remained a crucial problem. I was on the first floor (considerably higher than the ground floor) and the only way to reach an alternative side exit to the underground floor was to pass by force from the main staircase leading to the ground floor. The problem was that at the base of the staircase there was both the staircase that led to the basement and a giant door wide open with a few meters in front of the vehicles and workers. I had to get in sight in front of the men.

As it often happens to me, if I keep a cool head and remain extremely quiet in my movements, I manage to get out of several uncomfortable situations. However, there was a risk: I had to seize the right moment to pass in front of that exposed space in front of the door.

The men were always around, I had a better chance now that they were out than they would be if they came in. Then when I saw that one of them was out of sight and the other turned to enter a container, I rushed to the stairs leading to the basement with my gaze fixed on the man from behind.

I did it.

I reached the secluded exit and disappeared outside the structure.

The story could end here, but I had regrets. Some rooms was not photographed and the main one was shot too quickly and not in its entirety. I had to go back. But there were other commitments and the August holidays.

My holidays are photographic holidays dedicated to touring Italy in search of abandoned places, but this building was not on the itinerary, I would have revisited in September.

Unfortunately in my tour it happened that I seriously injured a tendon of the right leg during an exploration in Abruzzo. I had to wear chalk and stand still for many weeks and do rehab.

My concern for this building remained: had they already restored it? At what point were the works?

They took my cast off at the end of September. Around that same time, I bought a new wide-angle lens, slightly more pushed than the previous one.

I could walk vaguely so I decided to have a friend take me to the palace because I couldn’t drive…

I chose in hindsight one Sunday, hoping they weren’t such workaholics!

Right decision, in fact I spent all Sunday shooting in peace.

And catch the right light to take the picture at this beautiful salon. The light condition was clearly more particular than the photos passed.

The warm light filtering through the windows enhanced the atmosphere. And I had my brand new ultra-wide angle lens.

Mythological characters and bucolic figures coexisted in the large fresco above. Among them stands the god Apollo aboard his solar chariot.

The concomitance between the presence of Apollo and the warm filtering light suggested me to give the title “Rise of Apollo” to my work. An allegory that blends in with reality.

I left completely satisfied with all the material that I could photograph, another pearl that I can boast of having in my archive.

 
Pochi palazzi abbandonati riescono a suscitare stupore per la ricchezza degli arredi e particolari. Questo palazzo, seppur completamente privo degli arredi, rappresenta uno tra i miei 20 palazzi migliori visitati nella mia pluriannuale carriera di esploratore.
 
La cosa che più mi ha stupito degli affreschi realizzati sui soffitti e pareti è stata la mano realizzatrice di questi capolavori di pittura. Raramente in luoghi abbandonati ho ammirato tanta perizia e realismo nello stile e nell’ esecuzione, questi mi hanno ricordato addirittura alcuni affreschi realizzati da Raffaello visti su alcuni soffitti dei Musei Vaticani a Roma.
 
Ma facciamo un passo indietro.
 
Quando ho scovato notizie sul grande palazzo in questione, avevo anche notizia di imminenti lavori di restauro per trasformare probabilmente il palazzo in un hotel di lusso.
 
Così ho deciso di andarci il prima possibile per evitare di non potervi più accedere per via del restauro e di non fotografare tanta bellezza nella sua fase di decadimento, che è la caratteristica dei miei lavori.
 
Era un sabato di Maggio 2021 quando decisi di mettermi in viaggio. Arrivato verso mezzogiorno, noto che il palazzo si erge su una specie di altura. Riesco ad intrufolarmi piuttosto agevolmente attraverso la recinzione del parco che circonda il palazzo (meno tempo per riuscire a capire come entrare equivale a più tempo per scattare foto!).
 
L’unico accesso alla struttura sembrava essere sul retro. Una stradina asfaltata ricca di sterpi selvagge saliva lateralmente intorno all’edificio.
 
Ad un tratto noto lateralmente e sul retro classici elementi di ristrutturazione edilizia: materiale da ponteggio esterno, container con dentro strumentazione edilizia ed ancor peggio, per la mia presenza indesiderata, un furgone cassonato da lavoro ed un auto. E sembravano parcheggiati di recente…
 
Il pensiero istantaneo è che ci fossero persone al lavoro dentro, ma quando, nascosto dietro alcune siepi, non sentii nessun rumore all’interno, ho deciso di avventurarmi all’interno con molta prudenza e dubbi sull’integrità del decadimento interno.
 
Ero forse giunto troppo tardi?
 
Per mia enorme fortuna l’interno manteneva ancora uno status di abbandono. Gli ampi saloni affrescati sui soffitti mi facevano entusiasmare. In più la scalinata principale centrale aveva al primo piano un colonnato bellissimo che sembrava quasi un tempiettio da oracolo dell’antica Grecia.
 
Ho perso un pò di tempo ad esplorare le sale ma poi ho iniziato a scattare con veemenza col mio vecchio obiettivo Tamron 15-30.
 
Ad un certo punto però sento rumori fuori sul retro e mi accorgo che un paio di operai sono nei pressi dei veicoli esterni. Il pensiero è stato che prima fossero in pausa ed ora erano tornati a proseguire i lavori. Ovviamente il pensiero principale è stato quello di andarmene il prima possibile.
 
Rimaneva però un problema cruciale. Io ero al primo piano (considevorevolmente alto rispetto al pian terreno) e l’unico modo per raggiungere un’ alternativa uscita laterale defilata al piano sotterraneo era quella di passare per forza dallo scalone principale che conduceva al piano terra. Il problema stava nel fatto che alla base dello scalone c’era sia la scala che conduceva ai sotterranei sia un portone gigante spalancato con davanti a pochi metri i veicoli ed i lavoratori. Dovevo passare in bella vista davanti agli uomini.
 
Come mi accade spesso, se mantengo il sangue freddo e rimango estremamente silenzioso nei miei movimenti, riesco ad uscire da diverse situazioni scomode. C’era comunque una parte di azzardo: dovevo cogliere il momento giusto per passare davanti a quello spazio esposto davanti al portone.
 
Gli uomini rimanevano sempre nei dintorni, avevo più chance adesso che erano fuori che sicuramente dopo se entravano. Allora quando ho visto che uno dei due era fuori visuale e l’altro si voltava per entrare in un container, mi sono fiondato verso le scale che conducevano ai sotterranei con lo sguardo fisso sull’uomo di spalle.
 
Ce la feci.
 
Raggiunsi l’uscita defilata e mi dileguai all’esterno della struttura.
 
Il racconto potrebbe finire qui ma avevo dei rimpianti. Alcune stanze non le avevo fotografate e quella principale non mi sembrava di essere riuscito a fotografarla al meglio in tutta la sua interezza. Dovevo ritornarci. Ma di mezzo c’erano altri impegni e le vacanze d’Agosto.
 
Le mie vacanze sono vacanze fotografiche dedite a girare l’Italia in cerca di luoghi abbandonati, ma questo palazzo non era sull’itinerario, ci sarei ripassato a Settembre.
 
Purtroppo nel mio tour è successo che mi ferii gravemente ad un tendine della gamba destra durante un esplorazione in Abruzzo. Dovetti portare il gesso e stare fermo per molte settimane e fare riabilitazione.
 
Il mio cruccio nei confronti di questo palazzo rimaneva: lo avevano già restaurato? A che punto erano i lavori?
 
Mi tolsero il gesso a fine Settembre. In quello stesso periodo comprai un nuovo obiettivo grandangolare, leggermente più spinto del precedente.
 
Riuscivo vagamente a camminare quindi decisi di farmi accompagnare al palazzo da un amico visto che non riuscivo a guidare…
 
Scelsi col senno di poi una domenica, sperando non fossero così stakanovisti!
 
Decisione azzeccata, infatti ho passato tutta la domenica a scattare in tranquillità.
 
E beccare la luce giusta per fare la foto a questo salone stupendo. La condizione di luce era nettamente più particolare rispetto alle foto passate.
 
La luce calda che filtrava dai finestroni valorizzava l’atmosfera. Ed avevo il mio nuovissimo ultragrandangolare.
 
Personaggi mitologici e figure celestiali convivevano nel grande affresco sovrastante. Tra questi troneggia il dio Apollo a bordo del suo carro solare.
 
La concomitanza tra la presenza di Apollo e la calda luce filtrante mi ha suggerito di dare il titolo “Rise of Apollo” alla mia opera. Un’allegoria che va a fondersi con la realtà.
 
Me ne sono andato completamente appagato e soddisfatto di tutto il materiale che ho potuto fotografare, un’altra perla che posso vantare di avere nel mio archivio.
 
 
 
 

Few abandoned buildings are able to arouse wonder for the richness of the furnishings and details. This building, although completely devoid of furnishings, is one of my 20 best buildings visited in my multi-year career as an explorer.

The thing that most surprised me about the frescoes on the ceilings and walls was the hand made of these masterpieces of painting. Rarely in abandoned places have I admired so much skill and realism in style and execution, these even reminded me of some frescoes made by Raphael seen on some ceilings of the Vatican Museums in Rome.

But let’s take a step back.

When I found out about the large building in question, I also had news of imminent restoration work to probably turn the building into a luxury hotel.

So I decided to go there as soon as possible to avoid not being able to access it anymore because of the restoration and not to photograph so much beauty in its phase of decay, which is the characteristic of my works.

It was a Saturday in May 2021 when I decided to set off. When I arrived at noon, I noticed that the palace stands on a kind of high ground. I manage to sneak quite easily through the fence of the park that surrounds the building (less time to figure out how to enter is equivalent to more time to take pictures!).

The only access to the structure seemed to be at the back. A paved road full of wild bushes went up laterally around the building.

Suddenly known laterally and on the back classic building renovation elements: external scaffolding material, container with inside construction equipment and even worse, for my unwanted presence, a pickup truck and a car. And they seemed to be parked recently…

The instant thought is that there were people at work inside, but when, hidden behind some hedges, I didn’t hear any noise inside, I decided to venture inside with great caution and doubts about the integrity of the internal decay.

Was I too late?

By my great luck the interior still maintained a status of neglect. The large frescoed halls on the ceilings made me enthusiastic. In addition, the central main staircase had on the first floor a beautiful colonnade that looked almost like an oracle temple of ancient Greece.

I lost a bit of time exploring the halls but then I started shooting vehemently with my old goal Tamron 15-30.

At some point, however, I hear noises outside the back and I realize that a couple of workers are near the external vehicles. The thought was that before they were on break and now they were back to continue work. Obviously the main thought was to leave as soon as possible.

However, it remained a crucial problem. I was on the first floor (considerably higher than the ground floor) and the only way to reach an alternative side exit to the underground floor was to pass by force from the main staircase leading to the ground floor. The problem was that at the base of the staircase there was both the staircase that led to the basement and a giant door wide open with a few meters in front of the vehicles and workers. I had to get in sight in front of the men.

As it often happens to me, if I keep a cool head and remain extremely quiet in my movements, I manage to get out of several uncomfortable situations. However, there was a risk: I had to seize the right moment to pass in front of that exposed space in front of the door.

The men were always around, I had a better chance now that they were out than they would be if they came in. Then when I saw that one of them was out of sight and the other turned to enter a container, I rushed to the stairs leading to the basement with my gaze fixed on the man from behind.

I did it.

I reached the secluded exit and disappeared outside the structure.

The story could end here, but I had regrets. Some rooms was not photographed and the main one was shot too quickly and not in its entirety. I had to go back. But there were other commitments and the August holidays.

My holidays are photographic holidays dedicated to touring Italy in search of abandoned places, but this building was not on the itinerary, I would have revisited in September.

Unfortunately in my tour it happened that I seriously injured a tendon of the right leg during an exploration in Abruzzo. I had to wear chalk and stand still for many weeks and do rehab.

My concern for this building remained: had they already restored it? At what point were the works?

They took my cast off at the end of September. Around that same time, I bought a new wide-angle lens, slightly more pushed than the previous one.

I could walk vaguely so I decided to have a friend take me to the palace because I couldn’t drive…

I chose in hindsight one Sunday, hoping they weren’t such workaholics!

Right decision, in fact I spent all Sunday shooting in peace.

And catch the right light to take the picture at this beautiful salon. The light condition was clearly more particular than the photos passed.

The warm light filtering through the windows enhanced the atmosphere. And I had my brand new ultra-wide angle lens.

Mythological characters and bucolic figures coexisted in the large fresco above. Among them stands the god Apollo aboard his solar chariot.

The concomitance between the presence of Apollo and the warm filtering light suggested me to give the title “Rise of Apollo” to my work. An allegory that blends in with reality.

I left completely satisfied with all the material that I could photograph, another pearl that I can boast of having in my archive.