San Pietro a Cegliolo, Tuscany

While in Tuscany, we stayed at the iL Casale, located in San Pietro a Cegliolo, which is 3km from Cortona. When traveling through San Pietro a Cegliolo on the first day, the bell tower of an old church about a quarter mile off the main road caught my eye. I could imagine it illuminated by the early morning sun, and knew it had potential for a great photograph. I, therefore, quickly took notice of its specific location.

The next morning, I got up at 5:30 and tried to quietly slip out of our residence at iL Casale without disturbing anyone–that was not successfully accomplished. Once outside, I headed directly to the old church so I would not miss the rising sun’s first light. The church was about a mile away. By the time I got near the church it was already pretty bright. However, the sun had not come up over a mountain to the east, and therefore, the church was not yet lit by the early golden sunlight.

To get to the church, I had to go down a semi-private dirt road and cross a field to be in the right position to photograph the west side of the church that potentially would be lit by the sun. I say “potentially” because I had not seen the church at sunrise and was not sure if the sunlight would actually strike the side of the church or be blocked by nearby buildings and other structures.

I had to wait almost an hour for the sun to crest the mountain and begin lighting the valley below. As it gradually rose, I could tell that I was in the right place and my excitement rose with the sun. Eventually, the sun rose enough to illuminate the entire church, and it appeared to glow. I fired away shooting various angles and zoomed in and out trying to get the best composition.

Below are a couple photos from that morning. The only thing that could have made it better would have been some puffy white clouds in the background. Be sure to click on the photos to see them in more detail. Notice how the sun was also lighting the yellow flowers in front of the church. It’s all about capturing the light.

I also found out that the bells in the bell tower actually work and are rung on the hour. The first time they rang, I was a bit startled because I was not expecting them to be rung. Although they were very loud, they had a wonderful tone, and their sound was the icing on the cake.

About Stephen L Tabone

Executive Consultant and Nature Photographer
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3 Responses to San Pietro a Cegliolo, Tuscany

  1. Anne says:

    Love your story about “getting to the church in time.” So enjoy reading about the entire process of your photography: the inspiration, the planning, the adventure to the place, the patience needed to get just the right light and composition, and the reward(s). Walking down a semi-private road and crossing a field with who knows what in it … you are an adventurous and brave photographer! Isn’t the light just so magical in Italy? Wonderful photos …

    • Glad you enjoyed the “story” that accompanied the photos. I was a bit nervous about trespassing in Italy to the shot, but I did not see any no trespassing signs (not that I could have read them), and it was very early and most people were sleeping.

  2. Really beautiful! As Ann said, your eye and patience for getting “just the” right time and light are extraordinary. But I’m Sure I’m not the first to tell you that. Keep enjoying your new love. That way WE get to enjoy it also.

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