Day #1: Once in Fara San Martino we enter in the narrow passage that leads to the Valley of San Martino , the longest valley of the Maiella massif. The walls of rock that determine the access to the valley are very close to each other, at the narrowest point you can touch both with open arms. The passage is about 50 meters long and trekking it you will have the impression of entering into the mountain. To get in a shot the beauty of the fractured rock is not easy, it will be necessary to shoot backlight trying to capture the light that penetrates from the south. After the rift, the valley opens, revealing the ancient monastery of San Martino in Valle. A ninth century document already certifies its existence and it is assumed that was St. Benedict in person to establish it. In September 1818 a violent flood buried the monastery with debris and gravel, it was brought to light only at the end of the same century. Several decades ago it was covered again by a flood and in the 90s, when I visited the valley for the first time, was sticking out of the gravel only the church bell tower. Today the monastery is again visible. We will briefly go into the valley to photograph interesting rock formations. After a short visit to Fara San Martino village on the hunt for glimpses and narrow streets among ancient houses, we definitely will leave the mountain framings to head to the sea to explore the Natural Reserve of Punta Aderci. This reserve has botanical peculiarities typical of sand dunes environments with rich blooms, the geological aspect is also interesting with cliffs and pebble beach. Will be many framings to take good photos but the main subject will be the trabocchi, ancient fishing machines placed on high poles stuck in the bottom of the sea near the shore. Here we will wait for the sunset to photograph the sun framed between the trabocchi structures with the water which breaks in the pebbles. Punta Aderci is one of the few places in the Adriatic sea where you can watch the sunset.
Day #2: Navelli, like a mantle made of houses that covers the hill, it is unexpected for those who follow the old cattle track, today the road SS17. Flocks and armies have passed through this plain over the centuries, hundreds of sheep brought to the winter pastures on the coast, leaving behind the freezing of Campo Imperatore, and legendary soldiers of fortune to conquer castles and cities. This village of ancient vestina origin, has its roots in the history of L'Aquila in Abruzzo contributing to the foundation of L'Aquila. Intriguing are the stories, perhaps legends, that tell of crusade ships, lakes and beaches: a ship is part of the municipal coat of arms, it is engraved on a stone in many different places of in the town. Certainly it is not a legend the cultivation of the bulb that made Navelli famous all over the world: the saffron crocus.
The first bulbs brought, it is told, by a Benedictine monk in the fourteenth century gave rise to the successful production of this precious spice as expensive as gold, and that, the experts say, here he found the right climate and soil to make the best saffron in the world. I have traveled the State Road 17 perhaps hundreds of times and each time I have admired this cascade of beautiful houses in every season, so nice to feel satisfied my curiosity as a photographer satisfied just by only seeing it from the outside. Then, one day, I decided to enter ... and it was love at first sight: a well preserved medieval town well preserved with for the pride, I think, of by the few people that populate it. Stairways, arches, doors, alleys , details, spontaneous architecture will be the subjects of the day. We will discuss about perspective, falling lines, composition. As always we recommend the use of a tripod, the main optical will be the wide-angle and also the telephoto lenses which will help us in the search of compositions and particular perspectives. When back to at the base, in the early afternoon, we will have an extra –time of a critical reading of the shots made with the help of PC and video projector.