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A Summer in Tuscany, Italy

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Hema and I, both are avid travelers for different reasons. I love to travel and visit new places to enjoy and capture the history, beauty and freshness. Where as, Hema loves to enjoy and live in the moment, absorb the freshness but shopping is high on the list. This vacation was not very different, we had an amazing time in Tuscany, Italy.

How did Tuscany happen?

Year 2015 has been a big year for us, I was turning big 40 and it was our 10th marriage anniversary. We had big plans but around my birthday in October, but with my parents agreeing upon coming to us for summer vacation changed our plans. It was an exciting time to be with my parents, Last time they were here in States was when our daughter Adhya was born in 2009. As they were travelling west, my brother in Switzerland wanted them to visit them as well. So finally we planned that they will fly to New Jersey, stay with us for couple of months and while flying back to Delhi, they will stop over in Switzerland.

As we were planning this, Hema and my sister had a great idea of a family reunion in Switzerland and then cover some beautiful european locations. And, then we started our research and decided on to explore the beauty of Austria, Hungarian architecture and part of Germany.

While we were still researching on the locations, I got fascinated with amazing landscapes of beautiful Tuscany. Although, we covered almost all the popular places in Italy in 2008, we fell in love with Tuscan landscapes. That’s how Tuscany happened.

Tuscan Ride Begins

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Thanks to super talented Stefano Caporali – our photo guide, who suggested the wonderful hotel – Casanova Wellness Center in San Quirico D’Orcia that was in heart of  magical Tuscan landscapes.

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We got our room, dumped our luggage and went straight out to get the first glimpse of Tuscan beauty. The view at dusk was so refreshing, we couldn’t have asked for better place to stay than this.

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By now, it was dark and we were starving, thankfully the hotel had a beautiful restaurant called Ristorante La Taverna Del Barbarossa. Although, we didn’t have much vegetarian options but still we managed to have a wonderful Italian dinner.

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I had no idea what I was going to see in the morning, where we would be going, but I was just excited and couldn’t wait to get up early to start our photo tour with Stefano.

The first location was not far, we were in the backyard of the hotel and I couldn’t believe my eyes, the view was astounding. We were there early to see the sky changing color every second, the sun was ready to show its first glimpse, the green, blue, orange, yellow and purple were the colors of the moment. I was bowled over by the view of the green fields, curvy hills, and the beautiful sky.

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An hour after that was just a bliss!

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As the sun was showing its face, whole scene was changing as if someone was changing the canvas in front of us.

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After continuous shooting for an hour, Stefano drove me to various locations, none seemed real to me – LOL. The rolling hill-sides with quintessential Tuscan cypress trees were the highlight.

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Stefano was so cool, he knew this place so well but still I felt that he was excited and curious to find new angles and new perspective. I was so happy that I got to know him and he helped us in taking some of the most memorable pictures. This is another example, we were driving and Stefano parked on the shoulder and walked to the field to get me this beautiful frame – blue sky with golden hay foreground.

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Then we stopped to see this awesome sight, winding road lined by cypress trees. Took tons of photos with this backdrop. It’s just magical. This photo was taken at Monticchiello in Val d’Orcia.

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Wherever he could stop, he would pull his car and start taking pictures – that was so similar to what I generally do. He was just awesome.

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This was our final stop of the day – sunset at San Quirico d’Orcia. The images of beautiful Cypress trees is so common here in Tuscany, Italy that I was wondering if this is their national tree? But, no. There national tree is Olive and Oak trees.

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It’s funny that we saw sun setting down and I asked Stefano if he can take me to the location where I can see the horizon, pointing to this spot  (next picture) which was almost 1-2 miles away from where we set our cameras to capture sunset. Without thinking twice, he said, let’s go. I asked have you been there, he said NO. He somehow managed to find the way, passed the gates, and we were there next to a beautiful farm-house. We started taking pictures with different angles and directions. Finally, I said, we got enough! As we started driving out, we realized that it’s a private property and were not supposed to drive in without permission. But, it was worth a shot! Thanks Stefano for going out of your way to accommodate my crazy photography needs.

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We said good bye to tuscan sun and headed back to hotel where Hema and Adhya were waiting for us. They only joined us for first half of the tour and planned to rest for the sunset leg. All of us bid a fond farewell to brilliant guide and friend Stefano.

I was fascinated by the images of tuscan hills and the early morning mist/fog on Stefano’s website. Before we planned, I asked Stefano whether there is any chance of mist/fog during our visit. He told me that he has seen it in October when the weather is little cooler than middle of the summer. I was disappointed 🙁 but still got some really great morning shots.

Sometimes, God listens to you and magic really happens! Next morning, I get up really early and pack my camera bag and start all over again – this time all by myself. I go out, and can’t believe my eyes. What I see, is out of this world, total magical!

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…more magic!

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…what more can I ask for?

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This was an awesome experience, a time that I will never ever forget. A place that is out of the world, I feel we were blessed to see and live this moment. This is called a Tuscan Love!

AUTHOR - Sri

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