Budapest (Hungary) during a warm vernal sunset.
San Daniele del Friuli (Italy). Some days ago I was driving by San Daniele del Friuli, and I decided to climb up to a hill. Do you know when you are in the mood of “looking around” without a specific destination? That was my case… But when I saw the street was turning and was giving me an idea about the landscape, I could not resist and I immediately pushed on the car’s brakes. And I think I was right! The photo here above is a shot I took from there: the Tagliamento, one of the most important river of the north-east of Italy, here is in the trait between Osoppo and San Daniele del Friuli. It looks iced, I know; and I found this effect pretty amazing! But it’s white simply because its very wide riverbed is made of candid stones and pebbles. All around, a lovely pinkish sunset just behind the Carnic Alps.
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”!
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.
Hiroshima (Japan). Today it’s the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, that destroyed more than two thirds of the city killing 70,000 people instantly, with an unknown final death toll.
I visited Hiroshima exactly five years ago: I arrived there very few days after the 65th year celebrations, and I was honestly surprised by this place, which was the protagonist of one of the most horrible episodes in the world history. I was – as said – surprised because I realised that everything in Hiroshima was talking about “peace”: the most famous landmark is the Peace Memorial (commonly called the Atomic Bomb Dome), which is also part of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, memories are conserved at the Peace Memorial Museum, and the Flame of Peace (designed by Kenzo Tange) burns continuously days and nights since it was lit in 1964 and it will remain lit until all nuclear bombs on the planet are destroyed and the planet is free from the threat of nuclear annihilation.
Yes, “peace”. Walking around Hiroshima – one more time – the most common word is “Peace”. I found in it a very strong message for all of us: a message of hope and forgiveness, something that will be inherited by future generations, something that is difficult to imagine normally, and for this reason it is even more special considering – again – the history of Hiroshima.
When during a night walk along the Ota River, I saw this young Japanese girl playing a song with her guitar, with still the word “Peace” echoing into my mind, I immediately stopped and I stood up listening to her. It was one of those moments that make a trip, and still today – when I think about Japan – the first episode that comes to my mind is this one.
I took this photo (and few others more) because I found the entire scene very symbolic: a peace song played in front of the Peace Memorial (which is mirroring itself on the river’s water surface), in the heart of a city which became an example of “pacific pride” for the rest of the world. It was a perfect moment, no need to explain more.
Today, 5 years after that my personal experience (which is still incredibly vivid in my mind and in my heart) and especially 70 years after that tragic day – when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” killed hundreds of thousands of people – I like to think about Hiroshima in this way, and like its citizens I want to share my humble but heart-felt message of hope and peace.
Florence (Italy). This is the unique landscape from the jetty of the Società Canottieri Firenze (Florence Rowing Club). Have you ever thought about rowing under Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi Museum? Is there any more exclusive place in the world for rowing?
Florence (Italy). The sequence of bridges crossing the Arno river during the sunset, starting from the famous Ponte Vecchio (old bridge).
Moscow (Russia). Although my trip to Moscow was limited to the very short timeframe of a weekend, I’m still editing and blogging photos about it: this confirm that the amazing capital of Russia has so much not only to see, but also to “live”…
What does it mean?
Whenever I travel, I try to understand the place where I am in two different ways: one is through my eyes, watching everything around me. The other one is through my soul, imagining how it can be living there. In this respect, photography is the perfect “tool”. In fact, if through my lens I can use my third eye to watch everything around me, editing my photos (especially some days later I captured them) is a way to – let me say – contemplate a place in a much deeper way, re-living the experience of being there with a more reflessive and intimate spirit.
Interestingly, it can happens that I would not live in amazing cities simply because they have stimulated only my eyes and not my soul. Or – sometimes – I’m perfectly comfortable in (and I find much more inspiring) places objectively less “glittering” or popular, but with a true soul.
I was thinking about this when I was photographing this large barge transporting sand along the Moskva River. It was a Saturday morning, it was cold – as it can be in Moscow in November – and the wind blowing along the river was causing me some pain to my fingers. However, I felt something of magic in that moment: simply, I understood that I was falling in love with Moscow…
Pontremoli (Massa Carrara – Italy). “A River Runs Through It”, but it would be more correct to say “Two Rivers Run Around It”, since the old city of Pontremoli is characterised by two rivers (Magra and Verde) surrounding it.