Photography in Tuscany with Rhodri Jones

Course dates

Tuesday 11th July to Tuesday 18th July 2023 Wednesday 19th July to Wednesday 26th June 2023

Tutor Profile

YOUR TUTOR Rhodri Jones, born in Gwynedd Wales, has been based near Bologna, since 2000. He first moved to Italy to live at the tender age of 18 and although he has lived and worked in several other countries, this unique peninsular has been his base for most of the past forty years.

Despite being self-taught, Rhodri has worked as a professional photographer on both personal and commissioned projects around the world since 1989 and has had six personal photographic volumes published; Made in China (Logos Art, Italy 2002), Return/Yn Ôl (Seren, Wales 2006), Hinterland (L’artiere, Italy 2010), Scambi Ferroviari (L’artiere, Italy 2011), Cosi E’ (L’artiere, Italy 2015) and Marconi Express (Forma, Italy 2019). He is currently preparing a new publication; FESTE.

Described by Magnum photographer, Philip Jones Griffiths as “a Welsh poet with a camera”, Rhodri has had solo shows in China, Eire, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, UK and USA and has participated in others in Austria, Canada, Germany, Japan, Mexico and RSA. His images have been used by leading magazines, newspapers, NGOs and publishers worldwide and his work is held in several public and private collections.

Rhodri is fluent in Italian, Welsh, German, Spanish and English but can work in several others. In January 2022 he was granted Italian citizenship. For more information on Rhodri’s work, please visit his website www.rhodrijones.com.

Toscana Photography Course Description

Photography is all about seeing. In order to see you must train your eyes to look. I’m not just talking about using those incredible physical lenses that nature has gifted us; I’m also talking about the mind’s eye and, not least, the soul’s eye.

The photography course will be a relaxing experience; however, it will also be enriching - because we all take the best images when we are ‘in tune’ with ourselves and our surroundings. The Toscana hills are an incredibly inspiring place and the culture, although apparently simple, is rich in nuance and style. As you taste these in the local cuisine, you’ll also feast on them with your eyes.

Practically, each morning we will visit a new venue having first discussed our aspirations/goals for that day. Then, after a local lunch, those who wish to do so can continue their research or simply relax and enjoy being in the here and now - essential training for the successful photographer. In the evenings, those who wish to do so can discuss their day’s achievements and observations as well as receive useful tips and tricks.

The course groups are small, so both amateurs and professionals are welcome, but those simply wanting to improve their technical skills can stay at home. Our goal is not about competition, for me that’s not what photography is about - I’ve never once entered an image in the hope of winning a prize. Should you want to discuss technical know-how, that’s fine; we’ll find the time and I’ve got over thirty years professional experience to share. However, our main goal on this course is to improve our observational skills and enjoy ourselves in the process.

Locations & visits

EVERYTHING is included in the cost of your photography holiday: tuition, accommodation in a good sized double/twin room with en suite shower-room, all meals, plus pre-dinner aperitivi. Lunch will be taken out at local restaurants in the vicinity, and dinner will be served back at The Old Olive Press, where you will enjoy freshly home-made traditional Italian dishes.

Days are structured with tuition in the morning followed by lunch either in Terenzano or out at a local restaurant. There’s no tuition in the afternoon, it’s free for you to take time off or put into practise what you learned in the morning. Towards the end of the day there will be a workshop session to review progress and set out the objectives for the following day — and then there’s aperitivi ‘al fresco’ followed by a light evening meal.

Your photography holiday usually starts in Terenzano village, ideal for its contrasting scenes, its views of the mountains with small villages in the distance, street scenes (usually with a cat present), interesting doorways, water fountains and olive groves. A little further by car the Medieval town of Fivizzano offers a wealth of interesting things to see and photograph, not forgetting the weekly Tuesday market when the town really comes to life. On your last evening we will drop you off in the square after dinner - on a warm summer evening Fivizzano comes alive! Go for a stroll, enjoy a gelato or even a digestivi in one of the many local bars. From Fivizzano a few minutes drive takes you to the beautiful village of Verrucola with narrow winding streets dominated by the ancient castle. Here you will enjoy lunch at Ristorante Locanda al Castello. After lunch there’s a visit to the castle with a guided tour, including the opportunity to see many of the models made by Pietro Cascella – famous Italian sculptor, now deceased. Approximately 30 minutes drive from Terenzano is Monte dei Bianchi, a small mountain village with remains of a monastery, and a recently restored monastic vineyard, Monastero dei Frati Bianchi, with spectacular views. This small family-run vineyard produces around 12,000 bottles a year. Between Terenzano and Monte dei Bianchi is the village of Codiponte where there is a delightful small Romanesque Church, with naïve carved stone column capitals. The nearby Agriturismo in Reusa serves a wonderful lunch, after which you may relax by their private pool, and enjoy a glass of wine or two! 5 minutes drive from Terenzano is the now disused Carmelite Convent . The Convent has been recently restored after years of neglect; it is a fine venue for photography with its frescoed cloister and extensive grounds. The complex is now used to host events, weddings, etc., but there’s no restaurant so a picnic will be provided so you may continue to capture images throughout the afternoon.

There will be five days of tuition and one non-tuition day during your holiday, where you will have the opportunity to visit the famous walled city of Lucca, birthplace of the opera composer Puccini. We will drop you off at Aulla railway station where you will take a direct train to Lucca, the journey should take one and a half hours and the ticket is included in the cost of your course.

What to bring

If you need anything other than your camera, then your tutor will let you know before you travel.

As for clothing, the weather is likely to be warm but it can rain, so a waterproof will be advisable. Good walking shoes are essential.

Non-participating partners

We would like to welcome ‘non-participating partners’ or friends of people attending the photographic course but who do not wish to participate themselves. You will be able to accompany your partner on their various excursions, which are all to interesting historic locations, and enjoy lunch with them at local traditional restaurants. Or just relax and enjoy the local surroundings and walks.

The costs of these extra activities are not included in the rate, however we can advise prices and availability during your stay.

Getting here

Flights are not included and you will need to book your own flights to Pisa. Many UK airports fly here including Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, Birmingham, Bristol plus many more. We will collect you from Pisa Airport between 11 am and 1pm, a precise pick-up time will be organised closer to the date once we know all our guests arrival times. For guests arriving by train or if you are unable to make it to Pisa in time for collection you can travel to Aulla, which is our nearest mainline train station, where we will collect you. Transfers to Aulla are not included in the holiday. On the day of departure we depart for Pisa Airport shortly after breakfast at around 9 am. It takes approximately one and a half hours door to door. If you need to leave outside of these hours we can arrange transportation for you at an additional cost. If your flight is leaving later in the day, you are able to leave your luggage at Pisa Airport and spend a few hours sightseeing in Pisa. There is a shuttle service (People Mover) which departs for Pisa Centrale every few minutes. For guests wishing to arrive by car, we do not have a car park however there is on-street parking near by.

Cost of the Course

Included in the cost of your painting holiday:

Single: £1190 single occupancy
Sharing: £990 per person sharing (there is a £400 saving if you share!)

We look forward to welcome you to The Old Olive Press

Important Coronavirus Information

For information about how we are dealing with the Coronavirus, please visit our Coronavirus Information Page.