A photography workshop in Italy could not be based in a more appealing place than Ovieto, the most beautiful hill town in all Italy. It stands on its high rock plateau in Umbria, on the borders of both Tuscany and Latium.
Orvieto is an ancient city going back to pre-Roman Etruscan times, on the top of a volcanic rock surrounded by hills covered with vines and olives, and in the distance the snow topped high Apennines. It is noted for its wines, especially the Orvieto Classico.
Orvieto which is supremely picturesque, was sketched from many angles by William Turner who spent some time in the area. The painting itself was done in Rome and is as one would expect somewhat romanticised. Patrick Nicholas has planted an umbrella pine near the spot of Turner’s pine – it should be mature in about 30 years. His sketchbooks along with the painting are in the Tate, London. You can see them here
The well is a perfect place to practise photography under low light conditions with a broad contrast ranging from the bright sunlight pouring down the shaft and the gloom of the stair well.
Orvieto is girded by city walls, fortresses, towers and gatehouses. You can walk the entire circumference below the walls on an easy, well made path in a little over an hour – there are stunning views across the Umbrian countryside towards the Appenines and the golden hills of Tuscany a mere 20km away. You will also come across Etruscan cemeteries including the unique Cimitero del Crocifisso with its streets of curious tombs built of Tufa stone to resemble the wooden houses of the Etruscans – an eerie place on a foggy morning in April or October.
- For those who love markets there are two a week on Thursdays and Saturdays in Piazza del Popolo.
- You couldn’t find a more attractive town to enjoy yourself in when taking time off from a photography course or to relax in after a day long photo excursion.