If you travel in Italy by car, you have to keep in mind one important thing: avoid the motorways/tollways. Just by taking a country road, Sara and I found ourselves in the fairytale forest of Mount Amiata.
Italy is a country so much rich of natural and artistic hidden gems that rushing through a motorway to reach the destination will preclude you from discovering the majority of them. So, during our outward journey to southern Tuscany, we took the slower and longer route that led us through Mount Amiata, in which I’ve found the perfect conditions for taking some nice shots.
Mount Amiata is an ancient volcanic dome over 1700 meters high, whose latest eruption occurred about 700’000 years ago. It’s the second highest volcano in Italy, after the Mt. Etna. Nowadays its geothermal activity fuels many thermal springs in the lower altitude area and the mountain is the home of a wonderful and lush old-growth forest, mostly made of Beech and Chestnut trees. Going through the uphill road was like entering gradually in a hidden realm: a dense mist enveloped us in a surreal bubble and we slowed down, following the white sripes of the road barely visible just over the hood. Then, once reached what we thinked was the most remote point of the path, we stopped and took a brief walk into the deep forest. Every twig and leaf was motionless, every step we took was muffled by the damp soil; the stones that surfaced from the ground were covered by a verdant blanket of moss, dappled with orange leaves fallen from the high trees. The bright light filtered in through the branches and diffused by the dense mist was filling the undergrowth with a pale glimmer, unable to cast any shadow. Breathing slowly, we were feeling the cold embrace of the mist and the only perceivable sounds were just some creaks, around us and far in the forest. Enchanted by this surreal atmosphere, I tried to capture this beauty of nature with my camera: although its shutter mechanism is one of the quietest available today, in that place every actuation sounded like a loud slap, breaking a bit the peace of that moment.
After an undefined lapse of time, Sara and I decided to leave the fairytale forest of Mount Amiata and get back to car, keeping in our hearts a bit of the magic of that place. We loved so much this experience that after nine days, on our way back to Rome, we decided to go through the same route: as you can see in the last picture, the misty stillness yielded place to a vibrant multitude of dancing lights, as if everything was rejoicing in receiving a warmer sunlight. I’ll surely go there again to take some other shots as soon as I’ll have the opportunity and I hope that you too, during your travel in Italy will take the time to let yourself enchant by the amazing forest of Mount Amiata.
I’d like to remind that, as most of my works, you can find the higher resolution versions of these phtos on my SmugMug Gallery “Natural Italy”, also available for fine-art printing and licensing. Thank you 😉