July 9th 2014

In June, we sent photographer Stephen Banks (from our PR company Watershed) to Italy. He spent three days with Lesley, our Walk Leader in Classic Tuscany, and then joined Wayfarers on their Walk through Tuscany and Umbria. We caught up with him, back home in England, to see what he thought of his first trip to Italy.
You know you've had a successful trip when you end up with more than 1,500 images with which you're pleased! Walking through ancient towns, with churches and castles, through stunning landscapes in the sunshine - I was spoiled for choice! The first thing that struck me was the size of the landscapes. I knew Italy was a relatively small country, but when you're standing on top of the town hall in Montepulciano, for instance, and you see a vast expanse of countryside, penned in by mountainous peaks, and a huge sky above, you realise what a joy it is to photograph!
Both Walks were equally enjoyable, but very different. In Classic Tuscany, the expanses of rolling hills and cypress trees overwhelm the senses, whereas in Tuscany and Umbria, you get more of a variety. Mountains, forests, fields, pastures, olive plantations and vineyards, ancient towns, monuments and cathedrals, hermitages, monasteries and a famous author's house! Both Walks have equal merits for someone new to Italy, like myself. And, considering the heat (touching 100°F at times), the going was relatively easy and I didn't feel tired at any point.
Particular highlights for me were seeing the Chapel of the Madonna of Vitaleta and the views from La Foce on the Classic Tuscany Walk, then Cortona (particularly getting up at 5am to photograph the sunrise), the walk atop Monte Subasio towards Assisi and the food at our final hotel in Tuscany and Umbria, the Castello di Spaltenna. Wonderful!
Anybody remotely interested in landscape photography should go on either the Classic Tuscany Walk, or the Tuscany and Umbria Walk. Keep an eye on the Wayfarers Facebook page and YouTube channel, as we've been assured there are plenty of little tastes of Tuscany and Umbria to be added soon. Stephen took hundreds of video clips, along with his photographs. Click the link to find out more about our September Walk in Tuscany and Umbria

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