#1145. Caramella d’occhio Italiano, capitolo due (Italian eye candy, part two)

By Pascal Ollier | Travel Photography

Oct 08

After looking at Tuscany along a vertical track in part one, let’s go along a (mostly) horizontal line for part two, this set of pictures having been shot across spring and summer.

From a technical point of view, there will be fewer pictures taken with my 9mm, more space being given this time to the other two manual lenses currently mounted on my Sony A7 in my “standard” bag, a 21mm and a 35mm both from Voigtländer.

First, Pisa.

In my first Tuscan post published in January, https://www.dearsusan.net/2021/01/09/photographing-italian-magic-pandemic-florence/. I could not but share the shots of the tower.

But that does not do full justice to this city. Shoud you visit, there is much much more to it than the admittedly spectacular leaning building.

Scuola superiore. A quick nod nod wink wink to the DS bicycle lovers at the same time.

As a for example, this is Piazza degli Cavalieri which includes the Scuola Superiore, founded in 1810 by Napoleon as a “branch” of Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.

On the same square, one can see another interesting building, Palazzo dell’Orologio with its special underpass.


Driving east, we will make a second stop in Lucca after the one mentioned in my original post.

To reassure those of you who might think it never rains in Tuscany, yes it does.

Lucca, especially, is reffered to as the “pisciatoio della Toscana”.

I’ll let your imagination work to find out the full meaning of this one ;-).

Lucca Duomo with biker under rain

The narrow streets are full of small shops with interesting storefronts.

Here is an example which I particularly like.

If it were not for the newspaper clippings to the right, it might have been taken much earlier.

Nod nod wink wink to bike lovers encore

Should you decide to drive just a little bit south, you will end up in the Chianti region where you cannot but visit wine cellars.

One particular cellar, Castello di Ama, combines works of art of famous artists like Daniel Buren which makes it all the more interesting.

Art and wine combined, can you dream of a better combination?

The area radiates with spectacular landscapes which are often much greener than in the northern part of Tuscany,.

Vinyards galore

One should be aware that while distances may appear short, the time to get from A to B is often longer than anticipated as the roads, swervy and going up and down most of the time, do not allow you to drive fast.

Even if you are a local ;-).

This is especially true at night when you might encounter many a fox or some wild boars which have now become more protected.

Beware of those animals. One should avoid them; they can create substantial damage, and, if too close an encounter were to occur, you are advised to stay in your car until suitable hep arrives as they can be quite savage, especially if wounded.

They represent a substantial risk to property owners as they move around in groups and basically destroy everything along their path.

So one should drive at reasonable pace with eyes peeled. Not always easy after a good bottle of Chianti Riserva…

Back up from Chianti, a small stop in San Miniato is suggested. This little village is absolutely full of charm.


As a final stop, you will of course have to go through Florence.

Ponte Vecchio in broad daylight is just as beautiful as at night time.

Just wonder who that bloke is…

Piazza della Signoria as well.

Having fun with my 9mm – encore

Narrow streets abound in Florence just the same.


Night strolls are also very enjoyable to snap some good shots. In the spring, people were still advised to stay home as much as possible. It shows – and helped ‘togs.

Santa Maria Novella church

Going back to the Uffizzi, with my 9mm lens this time, provided me with a new opportunity to take a different view from this incredible place.

Just one window is illuminated. What could they be plotting?…

There is nothing more majestic than a city traversed by a wide river, the Arno plays that part admirably for Florence.

Arno river seen from the Ponte Vecchio

Ciao ! A presto !


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  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    Ah Pascal – my heart belongs in the south-west of France, the images of a wine cellar and the vineyard take me straight back to my childhood (my father was a winemaker, so I spent a great deal of my childhood playing around the various wineries), and – oops! – io parlo l’italiano molto, molto bene – tanto bene che quando sono in italia, gli italiani stessi non credono se dico che non sono italiano anch’io.
    Moving on. I’ve said this before and here you have given further proof that it’s true – IF it was possible, and I lived for over a thousand years, I could never hope to see even half of all that makes Italy such a magic, enchanting and fascinating country.
    The vineyards are painterly – be wary about exploring Lucca in too much detail, a friend of mine spent several years living there, loving it, but told us that strange things happen on the pathway along the top of the walls that surround the city.
    San Miniato was a safer bet – and I adore night photos like that.
    Your “bloke” beneath the Ponte Vecchio seems to be sitting enjoying the sun, in front of a few grape vines – presumably a local resident.
    A very good fake though, and well capable fo keeping mere tourists amused.
    Narrow streets abound all over the country – was it a bad habit, acquired from the Romans? – their famous “roman roads” are often no wider than goat tracks, but of course 2,000 years ago nobody knew what an automobile was and most of the traffic passed on foot. It has, however, led to many Italian cities having a zone in centre ville which is reserved for pedestrians only.
    “And so to bed” – but firsts, I have to compliment you on the final photo Pascal – that is one HELL of a photo, absolutely drop dead gorgeous! Brilliant! Enlarge it up – 1 metre by 2 metres – and MAKE space for it, somewhere in your house.

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Grazie per i complimenti, Pete, anche i miei per il Suo stupendo Italiano, che anch’io so un po’ chiacchierare .
      I will say that I took due account of your comments after chapter one to try and choose the right last picture.
      I’m glad you think I hit the nail on the head this time.

      I’ll confess I like it too, taken with my recently acquired CV 35 APO which got mixed reviews. Not my opinion.

      Thank you again for the kind words, best encouragement to keep going. Take care.

      • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

        Bugga other people’s “opinions”. They’ve been hurling bricks at my photos depuis plus de cinquante ans – I take no notice – you shouldn’t either.
        That photo isn’t merely “good” – it’s absolutely stunning – if it was on the wall of my dining room, I’d end up losing wait – staring at it, and not eating fast enough!

  • philberphoto says:

    What I like most about this post is how many different styles it incorporates. The night B&W moody shot, the golden hour romantic shot, the street shot with the cyclist making the image, the “dolce vita” retro B&W, the very contemporary vineyard, the ultrawide shot, the clouds-in-the-sky shot. And just one of each, just to show: I can do that one too. Wow! In an understated way, a dazzling display of virtuosity. And of course, Tuscany isn’t exactly hard on the eyes…

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you, Philippe, I am humbled by your very kind words.
      I look forward to reading one of your posts again soon ;-).
      Take care.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    Bravo, Pascal! Your photo tour in Italy is a lovely reminder of my trip there many years ago – before I owned a camera! Your eye for architectural detail always amazes (and pleases) me, and is evident all over these images. Beautifully created and a joy to behold. Thanks for sharing!

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Dear Nancee on the eve of this autumn weekend, nothing could please me more than reading your complimentary note and hearing that my post pleased you! Thank you so much!

  • Dallas says:

    Pascal, another master post on Tuscany. The 9mm is a very hard lens to master but use it with ease. Your vineyard shot is soooo good, with the layering you have achieved. As Nancee said you shots bring back memories, please continue to write and post

    • Pascal Ollier says:

      Thank you Dallas, your comment is a genuine encouragement!
      As far as shooting with a 9mm, it is not anything difficult. It comes naturally, you should try!
      Pascal J. willing, you can count on me for continued posting.
      Thank you again. Take care.

  • Dan says:

    Sigh. I missed visiting Italy without the crowds… Probably one of my great regrets to date.

    Great pictures Pascal!

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