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Landscapes

Landscape of Milan At Take Off From Linate Airport

Milan (Italy). This activity of photographing Milan at take off from Linate city airport – I must say – is going to entertain me a lot. Indeed, Linate is in my opinion one of the airports that offers the most spectacular take-offs, since after having left the runaway, the planes (at least those directed to North) usually turn toward the Alps flying over the city and therefore offering a very interesting view. In this regard, my suggestion is booking a window seat at the left of the plane (letter “A”) since the city’s landscape is mostly at that side.

Some mornings ago, while I was flying to Paris Orly (ORY) from Linate (LIN), the air was so clean that the view was reaching the Alps and I could even see their peaks with still a bit of snow. Since at take-off there was already enough light (AZ 350 flight at 8:55 AM) I decided to develop the photo in black and white. For the occasion, I used a 50 mm Summilux lens, also because the composition – with a thick window in between, “not very ASPH” – in these situations is not always very easy.

By the way, if Linate is an amazing airport for taking off, I think is worth mentioning Venice Marco Polo (VCE) as probably the most beautiful airport for landing! In this case, the best seats are the window ones at the right side (letter “F” for short and medium-haul flights).


Milano. Questa cosa di fotografare Milano mentre sto decollando dall’aeroporto cittadino di Linate devo ammettere che sta iniziando a divertirmi parecchio. Del resto, questo è a mio avviso uno degli aeroporti che offre i decolli più spettacolari, dal momento che dopo aver staccato dalla pista, gli aerei (almeno quelli verso nord) sono soliti virare verso le Alpi e passare sopra la città offrendo uno spettacolo molto interessante. A tal proposito, il mio consiglio è quello di prendere un posto finestrino a sinistra (“A”) dal momento che la città si sviluppa in buona parte da quel lato.

L’altra mattina, mentre andavo a Parigi, la visuale arrivava fino alle Alpi, tanto da poterne vedere le cime con ancora un po’ di neve. Dal momento che al decollo c’era già abbastanza luce (volo AZ350 alle 8:55 del mattino) ho deciso di convertire la foto in bianco e nero. Per l’occasione ho utilizzato un obbiettivo 50 mm Summilux, anche perchè la composizione – con un finestrino di mezzo – in questi casi non è sempre facilissima.

Per inciso, se Linate è un bellissimo aeroporto da cui decollare, credo valga la pena ricordare che Venezia Marco Polo (VCE) è forse il più bell’aeroporto in cui atterrare! In questo caso il posto migliore è il finestrino lato destro (lettera “F” per gli aerei a corto e medio raggio).

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Notre Dame from the Docks Along the Seine

Paris (France). Everyone traveling to Paris and photographing around this fantastic location, should try to find some places from where watching the city without the usual mass of people. It can be a tough mission, but it is worth the effort.

This photograph of Notre Dame Cathedral – for example – has been taken from under a bridge on the docks along the Seine River, and it is now one of my favorite images of my large portfolio of photos about Paris.

Of course, the wide angle lens exalts the general composition and makes the entire scene more “drammatic”, but the thing that I like most in this image is the sense of “intimacy” with the Cathedral that I can perceive, and which is the same one I was feeling when I was shooting this image. The reason – as said – I think is that in the entire scene there’s no anyone: a pure and genuine sense of relationship with the subject, without any obstacle or element of annoyance.

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Something I Learned From Two Twin Pine Trees On A Rock

Ortisei (Italy). For some years, I have been spending the end of August on the mountains in Italy: it’s a great way to rest before going back to work, oxygenating my body and my soul with clean air and marvelous hikes – some of them even very long. The place I prefer is the Val Gardena (Gardena Valley in English; Gröden in German) which, in my opinion, offers the most beautiful landscapes, also thanks to its majestic Dolomites. And this is the same feeling I have every time I walk along this trail photographed here above…

I know pretty well this trail, and I love it very much: it goes from the base of Sassopiatto mountain toward the Mount Seura, above the Mount Pana and Santa Cristina. My personal passion for this hike does not stay only in the marvelous view over the Odle peaks (in the background, it’s the Dolomites range between the Funes Valley and the Gardena Valley itself) from which the “Natural Park Puez-Odle” is named after; but also because in its final part – every time I pass from here – I can see this interesting detail in front of me, and I regularly stand some minutes observing it: two pine trees were born and grew up together, close each other, on the top of a little rock most probably fallen down from the near Sassolungo Mountain (on whose slopes the trail starts). However, it’s possible to see how one of the two survived, growing straight and flourishing, whereas the second one – less lucky – has withered.

In this scene it is clear and express the law of nature, which decides who should survive and those who succumb. Read differently, it is possible to get the spirit of sacrifice of the weakest, that leaves the field to let the strongest and most prepared continue to live. It’s a very sad scene in my opinion, but it is very poetic too, and full of brotherly affection. And I like to note that together with the flourishing pine tree – the one that year after year grows up well straight – there’s the one that couldn’t survive, with its wither trunk and without leaves, almost representing a monument in memory of its sacrifice.

Nature teaches us always many things; and it’s a duty to observe it with this spirit – I think.


Ortisei (Italia). Da alcuni anni verso la fine di Agosto scelgo di trascorrere alcuni giorni in montagna in Italia: è un eccellente modo per riposarmi prima di tornare a lavorare, ossigenando corpo e spirito con aria buona e stupende camminate – alcune anche molto lunghe. Il posto che preferisco è la Val Gardena (generalmente Ortisei) che a mio avviso offre i panorami più belli grazie anche alle sue imponenti Dolomiti. Ed è così che mi capita ogni volta di trovarmi a passare lungo questo sentiero…

Si tratta di un percorso che conosco bene e che amo molto: è il sentiero che dalla base del Sasso Piatto si dirige verso il Monte Seura, sopra il Monte Pana e Santa Cristina. La mia personale passione per questa camminata non sta non solo nella meravigliosa vista sul Gruppo delle Odle (nello sfondo), il massiccio delle Dolomiti situato tra la Val di Funes e la Val Gardena da cui il nome del Parco Naturale Puez-Odle; ma anche perchè nel suo ultimo tratto – ogni volta che passo di qui – mi offre questo interessante particolare, che regolarmente mi fermo a contemplare: due alberi di pino sono infatti nati e cresciuti vicini, l’uno accanto all’altro, su un piccolo masso che con tutta probabilità si è staccato dall’adiacente Sassolungo (alle cui pendici passa il sentiero). Tuttavia, è possibile notare come uno sia sopravvissuto crescendo dritto e rigoglioso, mentre l’altro – meno fortunato – purtroppo non ce l’ha fatta ed è seccato.

In questa scena è chiara ed esplicita la legge della natura, che decide chi deve sopravvivere e chi soccombere. Letta in maniera diversa, è anche possibile vederci lo spirito di sacrificio del più debole, che lasciando il campo fa continuare a vivere chi è più forte e preparato di lui. È una scena a mio avviso molto triste, ma anche piena di poesia e di fraterna tenerezza. E mi piace vedere che assieme al pino rigoglioso, che cresce anno dopo anno, ci sia anche quello che non ce l’ha fatta, con il suo tronco secco e senza foglie, quasi a rappresentare un monumento funebre in memoria del suo sacrificio.

La natura ci insegna sempre molte cose, ed è un dovere osservarla con questo spirito.

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Two Statues Are Talking About Milan

Milan (Italy). I already took a similar photo some months ago (this one) but the weather was not as nice as it was yesterday evening on the Duomo Terraces, one of my favorite location for shooting landscape photographs of Milan.

Watching these two statues makes me think about their possible conversation:

Left (L): “Look! The new Milan is over there!”

Right (R): “Yes, I see it… unbelievable how fast is its growth”

(L): “Until some years ago there was nothing there. Look now, isn’t it a wonderful skyline?”

(R): “Oh yes, it’s really beautiful”

(L): “From left to right, you start with the Garibaldi Towers: 25 floors and 100 meters high, they are energetically independent thanks to solar panels and a sophisticated insulating materials”

(R): “Wow! And the next one?”

(L): “The next one, at the right of Garibaldi Towers, is the Unicredit Tower complex”

(R): “Oh yes, I recognise it”

(L): “What you probably don’t know is that the towers were designed by the starchitect Cesar Pelli: he designed important buildings around the world, such as the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, the One Canada Square in Canary Wharf (London) and the second tallest skyscraper in Spain, the 250 metres tall Torre de Cristal in Madrid”

(R): “I see… the next one is famous! Isn’t it the Bosco Verticale?”

(L): “Oh yes! It’s a famous building… It even won the International Highrise Award, a prestigious international competition. The two buildings have 730 trees, 5,000 shrubs and 11,000 perennials and groundcover on its facades, the equivalent of that found in a one hectare woodlot.”

(R): “Great example of architectural sustainability! Ok, I like this lesson: let’s go on!”

(L): “Sure! The next tall building is the 143 meters high Solaria Tower. It is currently the tallest residential building in Italy. I can’t imagine the view from its top…”

(R): “It must be breathtaking…”

(L): “Indeed! Proceeding to the next one, here we are to the Lombardy Building (Palazzo Lombardia), designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. For the period between its completion and the Unicredit Tower opening it was the tallest building in Italy. Furthermore, it won the 2012 Best Tall Building Europe prize from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.”

(R): “It seems that most of these skyscrapers were awarded with some prestigious prizes… People in Milan should be aware of it!”

(L): “I’m not sure they are… But let’s come to the Diamond Tower, the tallest steel building in Italy. The Diamond Tower is characterised by an irregular geometry, and the perimeter columns are inclined compared to the vertical. Its layout has been developed to maximise the amount of sunlight passing through the building and to allow a view on the city, and the Diamond Tower has been awarded with the LEED GOLD certification, one of the highest ranking recognised by the Green Building Council.”

(R): “Another award!”

(L): “Yes… you are right. Last but not least, the Pirelli Tower. Although this building still today looks very modern, it dates back to 1950s and was designed by two among the greatest architects of the Italian history: Giò Ponti and Pier Luigi Nervi. It even seems that the Pirelli Tower inspired the design of the Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building) in New York It’s not an award, but…”

(R): “Oh yes, it’s amazing!”

(L): “And, at the right of the Pirelli Tower, there is the Breda Tower, built in 1959 and recently restored.”

(R): “Great! Thank you very much for this interesting lesson! I really did not know about how amazing and rich of information a skyline can be… This landscape won’t ever be the same from now on”

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The Hungary Parliament in Budapest

Budapest (Hungary). Thanks to its architecture, to its position on a bank of the Danube river, and to the color of the facade given by the light at sunset, the Hungary Parliament in Budapest is probably one of the most beautiful Parliament buildings in the world. For sure, a building I photographed with great passion and enthusiasm.

For this reason, even if I took this photo long time ago, still it is one of my favorite shots; not only for the sense of calm and tranquility that it gives to me every time I watch it, but also because I think it makes stand out the beauty of the Parliament’s architecture. In few words, this image is something I could see on my wall for long time without getting bored…

To those that are traveling to Budapest – even for a short stay as a weekend – I recommend to sit in front of the Parliament Building on the other side of the Danube river, and contemplate the facade waiting for the sunset. Architecture lovers will find in this landscape a sort of “mystical experience” and will “get drunk” with all those details, decorations and statues; not to mention the perfect coexistence of the general Gothic design with the central dome in perfect XIX Century Renaissance Revival style.

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Diladdarno

Florence (Italy). “Diladdarno” (or sometimes “Oltrarno”) is a word that means “on the other side of the Arno river” in the local slang. Technically, Diladdarno is the left bank of the city with reference to the river Arno, which crosses Florence from East to West. And among the bridges that connect the two banks of Florence, Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Santa Trinita (both of them in the photo) are the most beautiful. The first one is today a symbol of the city, it hosts prestigious jewellers and it is visited by thousands of tourists every day.

I took this photo from one of the most beautiful observatory points in town: the terrace at the Westin Excelsior Hotel. I could spend hours there, capturing photos and drinking nice cocktails. The view is breathtaking, not only on the river, the bridges and Diladdarno, but also on the Cathedral and the right bank or – as we say here in Florence – “Diquaddarno”!

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