Tuscany: A Photography Expedition 11 days / Photography Expeditions
About This Experience
Experience Tuscany’s lifestyles and landscapes through the lens of internationally acclaimed travel photographer Oliviero Olivieri. Together, alongside your group of fellow photo enthusiasts, you’ll perfect your technique and take some of the most captivating shots of your life. Walk straight through the heart of hill towns and vineyards, to the tops of medieval towers and the backs of ancient monasteries, all in search of your next frame-worthy photo and a true taste of Tuscan authenticity.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
9 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 2 lunches, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Professional photography instructor
Why You'll Love It
Hands-on instruction, right in the moment
Photo enthusiasts to share your passion
Chianti’s wine & picturesque vineyards
Tucked-away towns reveal real Italian life
Florence’s Renaissance art & architecture
Tuscany’s quintessential villas & rolling hills
Overnight Flight1 night
Montecatini4 nights - hotel info
Enhance your technique in the rolling hills of Montecatini
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Italy. A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport after you clear customs and then accompanies you via private motor coach to Montecatini, where you’ll be assisted with hotel check-in. After check-in, you’ll attend an introductory lecture focusing on the technical aspects of photography. Next, join your group for your welcome dinner.
Score panoramic shots from the top of an ancient tower in Lucca
This morning, stop to visit Lucca, a walled medieval town. Your photographer will lead you through the town and bring you to the top of one of Lucca’s ancient towers (don’t forget your panoramic lens). Later, you’ll transfer to Pistoia, a city steeped in the history of the Guelph-Ghibelline rivalry.
Stay focused—blink, and you might just miss a masterpiece in Florence
Museo Nazionale Alinari della Fotografia
Take a day trip to the timeless city of Florence, birthplace of the Italian language, Renaissance and opera. You’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city, including a visit to the Museo Nazionale Alinari Colella Fotografica (or Photography Museum), home to rare images, instruments and period photography equipment. During your free time you might train your lens on Brunelleschi’s masterpiece—Florence’s massive pink, white and green Duomo—and the streets near the Uffizi Gallery.
Wander the picture-perfect vineyards of the Chianti region
Spend the morning walking through the world-famous Chianti Region, home of Chianti wine, before stopping for lunch at a secluded castle. You’ll then attend a wine tasting at a vineyard, with time to take photos among the trellises. This afternoon, return to Montecatini, where you’ll ride the funicular up to Montecatini Alto to capture photos of the town just before sunset.
Siena2 nights - hotel info
Everything appears that much more beautiful under the Tuscan sun
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
This morning, transfer to Siena, where a guided tour introduces you to the town’s duomo and the Campo, where the town’s annual horse race takes place. You’ll enjoy lunch in Siena before this afternoon’s photography walk through the woods outside Monteriggioni. Your destination is a small country church, and along the way, you’ll be treated to more Tuscan scenery. Enjoy an included dinner in Siena this evening.
Dramatic, medieval and the perfect study in light and shadow
Today, visit the town of San Gimignano and its dramatic medieval towers. Take some time to experiment with the shadows cast by the towers before continuing on to Volterra, a city with a history dating back to the ancient Etruscan civilization. The Roman ruins here may provide you with some memorable photo opportunities. Return to Siena for the night.
Val d'Orcia2 nights - hotel info
Capture the heart of Siena in Piazza del Campo, where the locals gather
Spend this morning in Siena’s Piazza del Campo, the site of the city’s famous horse race. For centuries, Siena has been a city of neighborhoods, and as you might expect, a healthy rivalry has developed among Siena’s communities. Each year, Siena’s neighborhoods select riders to represent them in the Palio, the annual citywide horse race. Your photographer will show you how to capture the best parts of the Campo. This afternoon, transfer to the Val d’Orcia region, where you’ll take a stroll through the UNESCO World Heritage-listed town of Pienza, stopping to get shots of its famed Renaissance architecture. Dinner is included tonight.
Rome1 night - hotel info
Rome displays some of the world’s best art, including yours
Transfer to Rome this morning. The balance of the day is free at leisure. Tonight, you’ll have a chance to showcase your favorite photos and view the images captured by your group during your time in Italy. Then, enjoy an included dinner and toast to your progress as a photographer.
Extend Your Stay
Add Rome $359*
Only in Rome could you sip cappuccino at a cafe in front of the Pantheon, buy grapes at a centuries-old market and see the pope at his window—all in one morning. For a mix of spectacular art, grand history and exuberant street life, no other city comes close.
Rome2 nights - hotel info
Discover Rome frame-by-frame, seeking out your next photo op
Today, a local guide will introduce you to the art and architecture of Imperial Rome, including the Colossuem, the Roman forum and Piazza Venezia. Opt to end the day with the Dinner with Tenors, a lively evening of local food and live music.
Dinner with Tenors $79* pp
End your day with an elegant four-course dinner at one of our favorite Roman restaurants. While you dine, you’ll be treated to some of opera's best-loved arias…and you might even join the singers on stage. Don’t miss this lighthearted evening of food and fun!
Gaze at Michelangelo’s master works within the world’s smallest state
Spend the day exploring Rome at your leisure. Or join an optional excursion to Vatican City, including visits to the Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
Vatican City $85* pp
This guided tour takes you inside the world’s smallest state, Vatican City. Upon arrival, you'll first visit the Vatican Museums, which recently celebrated a 500-year anniversary and hold many of the world's most important Classical and Renaissance-era sculptures. Next, you'll visit the Sistine Chapel, where you'll gaze on what is perhaps Michelangelo's greatest masterpiece. Finally, you'll visit the enormous St. Peter’s Basilica, the epicenter of the Roman Catholic faith. The artists whose efforts have contributed to its glory are some of the best Italy has ever known, including Bramante, Peruzzi, Raphael and Michelangelo. Masterpieces await at every turn, from Bernini’s magnificent bronze canopy to Michelangelo’s Pietà. Please note: This excursion is not available on Sunday. Advanced reservation and booking is required prior to your final payment deadline.
Passport & Visa
In order to enter Italy, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport. The expiration date must extend at least six months beyond the date of your return home. No visa is required for U.S. or Canadian citizens. If you’re not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact the Italian consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks associated with traveling on your tour. Be sure to check with your doctor or health care provider for the latest updates and travel requirements.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of traveling is the variety of local cuisine. On your tour, be sure to try those less familiar pasta sauces and the vast range of cured hams, cheeses, rustic breads and desserts. Italian cuisine varies by region. Tuscany is known for its wine, oil, sauces and pasta, favoring subtle, lighter pastas and desserts (mostly cookies and breads) made with nuts, fruit and honey. For authentic meals, try local trattorias, small restaurants often with only a couple of open tables and hand-printed menus. Italians tend to indulge in long, often boisterous meals featuring wines and the occasional beer, followed by the requisite after-dinner drinks grappa or limoncello.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Florence and depart from Rome. Upon arrival in Italy, a Go Ahead representative escorts you via private motor coach to Montecatini. When you first arrive at the airport in Italy, a Go Ahead representative will meet you after clearing customs. Please remain in the arrival lounge, as the representative might be escorting one of your fellow travelers to the bus at the time of your arrival. All other included transportation on your tour is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the major cities of Florence and Rome by public transportation. Florence is split up into two separate sections by the Arno River, with most of the attractions spread out around the Duomo. The city is walkable, although frequent local buses are also available. Purchase tickets at tobacconists or at vending machines. Rome has one of Europe’s best metro systems, serving all the major attractions from the Roman ruins to Vatican City. Tickets can be purchased separately or in bulk and also cover bus and tram travel.
Clothing & Packing Tips
To ensure you’re comfortable while out exploring, we recommend packing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing that can be easily layered. For sightseeing, we suggest bringing a sturdy pair of walking shoes or sneakers, as well as a lightweight sports jacket or rainwear. If you’re planning a visit to a high-end restaurant or performance, you may also want to bring dressier attire. Also, please remember that it’s preferable to avoid showing bare legs or shoulders during visits to churches or other religious sites (entrance may be denied on this basis).
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
The euro is the currency you’ll use on tour. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination country, although it’s worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We advise that you take a combination of bank/ATM cards and credit cards, as needed. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalent of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalent of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
About your Photography Tour
Who is this tour designed for?
Anyone with an interest in photography, regardless of age or skill level. All you need is a digital camera, a sense of adventure and a desire to learn.
What happens if it rains?
The day-by-day itinerary is an outline of daily activities. This kind of program requires maximum flexibility, and events are likely to be rearranged as local conditions demand. If you’re unlucky enough to experience inclement weather, we will arrange more activities in town and fewer in the countryside. Please note that weather and other circumstances may impact your photographic opportunities.
What should I expect each day?
The best time of day for shooting outside is in the early morning and just before sunset. In order to give you as many opportunities as possible to capture these destinations, our days begin very early. Weather conditions will also dictate your photography tour, and flexibility is important.
What kind of instruction will I receive?
Learning takes place through personal tutoring sessions, discussions around the dinner table, and while photographing on location. Whether you are a novice or an advanced photographer, you will come back with great images and a deeper understanding of the photographic medium.
How should I prepare for this tour?
There’s no need to take any preliminary photography courses, but each traveler is responsible for bringing their own photographic gear. We recommend that you bring the following:
- Your own camera and its manual; each traveler should take some time to familiarize yourself with your camera’s settings.
- Lightweight yet sturdy tripod
- Spare batteries and/or rechargeable batteries and a battery charger
- Memory cards and a memory card reader for downloading photos to your tablet or laptop
- Antistatic cloth
- Lenses—24/70 and 70/200 are recommended