A Photographic Trip to Italy

Our November meeting, held jointly with the National Geographic Society, welcomed David Jones and his wife, Carla, to take us on an exploration of "Marches, Cities and Mountain Scenery" in Italy . Prompted by a family holiday, David and Carla drove south from England to reach the region of Ascoli Picheno. Look on a map of Italy, and you'll find their destination in east central Italy, close to the Adriatic Coast. Their ultimate destination was the little hill top town of Offida.

David treated us to a series of superb photographs of the beautiful buildings in this unspoilt location, set in rolling countryside and framed by the Monti Sibillini. The town follows the pattern of many you will find over Italy. Set on a hilltop, cloaked by mediaeval walls, its narrow winding streets open out into a wide central piazza, dominated by the church and fifteenth century town hall. After a photographic stroll around the centre, looking in detail at the buildings, we visited other nearby hill top towns, which were equally as stunning. Ascali Piceno was followed by Norca (famous for its truffles), Urbino (with a magnificent Ducal Palace) and Fermo. Perhaps the best known of the towns we visited was Assisi. The dominance of its Basilica and Franciscan Seminary, is offset by the intimate scale of the town itself, which also contains the Church of St Clare (Santa Chiara), all looked down upon by a hilltop castle.

A written report of the presentation can do little justice to the quality of the photographs and the sense of peace and tranquillity they convey. David also gave us an interesting diversion into the skills of digital photograph manipulation and as a finale, David and especially Carla, with her Italian ancestry, gave us an interesting and sometimes humorous insight into the art of living in Italy.

Please don't browse through your travel brochures to book a trip to these little towns. Apart from Assisi, they are, thankfully, not on the "tourist trail". Visit them independently, enjoy their tranquillity, excellent food and friendly welcome!

Roger Hockney
November 2013