The Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof) in Innsbruck

Innsbruck (Austria). The small and powerful Ricoh GR camera (perhaps the only camera really irreplaceable for me in this period) struggling with a night photo taken in Innsbruck, in front of the well-known Goldenes Dachl (Golden Roof), a landmark structure in the Old Town and built with more than 2,500 copper tiles at the end of 1400 to celebrate year 1500 by Emperor Maximilian I.

Innsbruck (Austria). La piccola e potente Ricoh GR (forse l’unica macchina fotografica veramente insostituibile per me in questo momento) alle prese con una foto notturna scattata a Innsbruck, davanti al celebre Goldenes Dachl (Tetto d’Oro) simbolo della città e realizzato con oltre 2,500 scandole alla fine del 1400 per celebrare l’anno 1500 da Massimiliano I d’Asburgo.

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Paris Gare du Nord Train Station

Paris (France). I have always had a special feeling for train stations. It’s a feeling coming from a mix of interests: I like trains, I like watching people, and I like observing the architectures. For this reason there are some places that I consider “magic”. One of them is the train station “Gare du Nord” in Paris. Although its architecture comes from mid of the 19th century, this place is still one of the most crowded station of Paris (well, to be honest with its 190 millions of passengers, it’s the most crowded station in the whole Europe and the second one in the world after Japan!). High speed trains (the international Thalis and the national TGV) depart from here to many destinations, including the north of France but also London, Amsterdam and Cologne.

When I took this photo it was Friday afternoon: I guess that the majority of people going to jump on the train were commuters going back home for the weekend. I liked to stay for quite a long time with my back leaning against the lamppost, trying to be invisible and – most important – sturdy in the middle of this people’s “flow”. I used a wide angle lens (at that time I was travelling with a Fuji X-T1 camera coupled with a 10-24 mm lens) to emphasize the beauty of the large truss sustaining the ceiling.

Now, every time I go to Paris (especially if I catch the RER B going from CDG Airport to Chatelet) I consider to stop at Gare du Nord. Beyond the perfect mix of interests mentioned at the beginning of the post, this place is also a great location for street photography – although the recent terrorism alerts (vigipirate) are creating some problems to photographers…

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Trieste Upside Down

Trieste (Italy). I generally like seaside towns and frontier towns, and for this reason I really love Trieste, which includes these two aspects in the same city. Furthermore, here the Central European soul (Trieste was the main sea access of the Hapsburg Empire, a period of strong economic and demographic growth for the city) merges the Mediterranean one, in a melting pot of races, cultures, religions and lifestyles.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to spend some hours in Trieste, and I think it’s a wonderful city to visit and to photograph, both with its traditional landscapes, both with its hidden corners. In the image here above, I captured the facade of a building along the Canal Grande, taken from a different point of view, reflected on the sea surface. Indeed, the two spirits of Trieste: the Central European one and the Mediterranean one.

Trieste. Personalmente amo molto sia le città di mare che le città di frontiera, e per questo a maggior ragione amo Trieste che ne incarna entrambi gli aspetti. Non solo, ma qui l’anima Mitteleuropea del nord (Trieste è stato il principale sbocco marittimo dell’Impero Asburgico, periodo durante il quale conobbe un’epoca di straordinario sviluppo economico e demografico) si fonde con quella Mediterranea in un crocevia di razze, culture, religioni e stili di vita.

Di tanto in tanto mi capita di aver occasione di passare qualche ora a Trieste, e trovo che sia una città bellissima da vedere e da fotografare sia con i suoi panorami più classici, che con i suoi angoli nascosti. Nella foto qui sopra, la facciata di un palazzo che si affaccia lungo il Canal Grande, presa da un punto di vista un po’ diverso, ossia riflessa sulla superficie del mare. Appunto, le due anime di Trieste: quella Mitteleuropea e quella Mediterranea.



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The Wooden Chapel of Madonna della Pescheria of Portogruaro

Portogruaro (Italy). It’s the end of the year, and it’s therefore time for greetings… Some days ago I went to Portogruaro to meet some friends, and I brought my Leica Q camera, just in case… Portogruaro is a very nice old town located in the north-eastern part of Italy, across the border between Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia regions, not too far from Venice. It was quite cold and very, very foggy. And of course, I could not resist the temptation of shooting some night photos around (although my hands were freezing)…

To do this, I chose one of the most characteristic observatory points of this lovely town: it’s a chapel made of wood and dedicated to the “Madonna della Pescheria” (roughly translatable into something more or less like “Holy Virgin Mary of the Fish Market”, but I admit it’s a bit funny). Here, the Lemene river moves the wheel of two old watermills, before heading to the Lagoon of Caorle where it meets the Adriatic Sea. The Chapel dates back to 1627 (as reported in a note on the chapel’s door) and every year there’s a traditional celebration around it, with people coming along the river with their boats, bringing gifts to the Holy Virgin Mary.

I love these hidden corners of Italy: they are able to surprise me every time. As I always say, Italy is like a precious necklace, where main cities (such as Florence, Venice or Rome) are the biggest diamonds, but small towns – like, for example, Portogruaro – are small shining gems and therefore are not less important than the more popular destinations…

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Toledo Metro Station in Naples

Naples (Italy). Here I’m back again with another photograph from a recent weekend in Naples. This city surprised me a lot, its beauty was far beyond my expectations and it was such a pleasure photographing around it! I will come back to Naples as soon as possible, one weekend only was really too short!

The photo posted here represents the Toledo Metro Station: I wanted to visit it – and I was lucky, it was very few minutes on foot from my hotel! – because it has been recognized by the Daily Telegraph as the most impressive underground railway station in Europe. Also the popular website “Bored Panda” has ranked it at the number one in the list of the 15 most beautiful metro stations in the world.

But beyond rankings and lists, which are quite tough to fill out, it is worth to underline that the Toledo Metro Station is not the only one deserving a visit, being part of a larger project called “Stazioni dell’Arte” (Art Stations), developed with the involvement of many artists and architects such as Gae Aulenti and Alessandro Mendini.

I personally found the concept of “Art Stations” something of very interesting, both culturally and socially: the idea that a metro station – which is normally dark, dirty and distractedly used by people to move from a point to another – can on the other side become a place of interest by itself, is not common nor banal. And it demonstrates how things can be done in a beautiful way without en excessive extra-cost.

It was the first time in my life I had bought a metro ticket just to see the station and not to catch a train, but – let me say – I cannot complain at all for this!

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Glimpse of Udine Before Climbing Up to the Castle (Loggia del Lionello)

Udine (Italy). Giovanni Boccaccio mentions Udine and the Friuli region in the 10th Day’s “Fifth Novel” of his most famous masterpiece Decameron written in 1350.

“In Friuli, a country, though cold, glad with goodly mountains and store of rivers and clear springs, is a city called Udine…”

The feelings I have when I walk around Udine are those of a very pleasant city with high life quality, characterized by a typical medieval urban tissue perfectly integrated with stylish shops, cozy cafes and beautiful bookstores.

I love so much visiting Udine and photographing its glimpses. This one in the image is the colonnade along the steep way to the Castle, captured some days ago at sunset.

Udine. Giovanni Boccaccio menziona Udine e il Friuli nella “Novella Quinta” della decima giornata del suo celebre Decameron, scritto intorno al 1350:

“In Frioli, paese, quantunque freddo, lieto di belle montagne, di più fiumi e di chiare fontane, è una terra chiamata Udine…”

Le sensazioni che si hanno passeggiando per Udine sono quelle di una cittadina assai piacevole con una alta qualità della vita, caratterizzata da un’impronta urbanistica tipicamente medievale che si concilia perfettamente con negozi eleganti, caffè ospitali e belle librerie.

Mi piace molto visitare Udine e fotografarne alcuni suoi scorci. Questo nella foto è il colonnato che accompagna la ripida salita al Castello, in uno scatto fatto giorni fa al tramonto.

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