September 20-29, 2024, €6,000
Join me on this photo tour to discover the true heart of Italy, the fabulous locations that inspired the Renaissance painters, a landscape of soft, verdant hills crowned by ancient walls and towers.
These are the places where the Italian civilization reached its highest peaks, where Giotto, Leonardo and Michelangelo were born, where Saint Francis preached, where Italian as a language developed. This is the heart of Italy, both geographically and culturally.
This tour is open to photographers of any skill level and carrying any time of equipment, from smartphones to full-fledged DSLR systems. My aim, during the entirety of the tour, will be to create the best conditions for you to get the images of Italy that you've been dreaming of. I love my country and all it has to offer, have been photographing it for decades and learned what it takes to make it really shine. Now it's your turn to capture your everlasting memories of Italy.
I am also passionate about the culture and history of Italy. Ask me about it and you might discover some historical facts that few people know about.
What Sets Us Apart
Many tours of Italy aim for breadth and are designed for those who are visiting Italy for the first time and don't want to miss the most famous locations, like Rome, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Amalfi, Naples. There is nothing wrong with that and, in fact, I lead similar tours on other occasions. The Heart of Italy tour instead aims for depth.
Those who have already been to Italy and seen the usual places will appreciate discovering locations a bit more off the beaten path, during a season when the tourist crowds are much thinner, cities are quieter, and the light is softer. Even if we briefly touch Rome and don't include Florence, you will be surprised by how much beauty lies in those "minor" centers.
For those who are visiting Italy for the first time and would like to include, for example, more days in Rome, we can offer an optional extension, depending on the number of people interested. Get in touch with us and we'll discuss the possible options.
Who Is This For?
This tour is recommended for every kind of photographer. Beginners and advanced amateurs will have lots of opportunities to learn new techniques, while even seasoned professional photographers will be able to take advantage of my knowledge of the country.
If you'd like to be taken care of by a team skilled professionals throughout your journey and pampered so that you don't have to worry about lodging and transportation hassles, then this tour is for you.
Even if you are not a photographer, but can appreciate beauty, you are welcome to join us on this tour and snap away happily with a smartphone or not. At the end of the tour, all the guests will receive a 100-page coffee-table book with the best photos taken during the trip.
Most of the locations we will visit during this tour are contained within a relatively compact region. This will allow us to avoid excessively long transfers and to explore in depth areas that have an incredible wealth of disparate locations inside a peaceful countryside, dotted with farms, villages perched atop hills, and fascinating medieval cities, rich in culture and history.
Days 1 and 2: Rome
Our tour starts in Rome. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted at our hotel in the center of the Eternal City. If you land in the morning, there will be time to do a little stroll in the neighborhood and start some sightseeing. In the evening, after all the guests have arrived, we will have a welcome dinner in a typical Roman restaurant, savouring the local delicacies.
The second day will be dedicated to a tour of the best Rome has to offer. Get on your most comfortable walking shoes and dress in layers. October in Rome can be the sweetest time of the year, with warm but not too hot days and cool mornings and evenings.
If the weather is promising, we will start with a sunrise shoot from a location overlooking the Ancient Forum and end the day with a sunset and blue-hour shoot near the Vatican.
On the morning of the third day, we leave Rome, bound for our next stop.
Days 3-6: Tuscia, Southern Tuscany, and Umbria
We'll make our base for the next three days in a lovely resort nestled amongst the cypress-dotted hills of southern Tuscany, in the vicinity of Siena. From here we'll take daily excursions on a private van to explore an area that few tours of Italy include in their itineraries, but that can be so incredibly quaint and beautiful.
The Val d'Orcia
Row after row of cypress trees ornate the roads and the hilltops of this region, for the most part characterized by a minimalist landscape that lends itself very well to creating stunning graphical compositions. The main towns in this area are San Quirico, Pienza, designed in the Renaissance as the model of the ideal city, and Montalcino, home to the best Italian red wines.
Of course, we will have the opportunity to visit Siena, with the amazingly well-preserved Piazza del Campo, home to the famous Palio, and its huge gothic cathedral.
This less well-know area lies just south of the border of Tuscany, in the direction of Rome. It is characterized by striking tufa hills, atop which rise ancient hamlets, like Civita di Bagnoregio and Pitigliano.
Umbria is a small region deeply steeped in Italy's historical and religious roots. Assisi is of course world-renowned because of St. Francis and because of Giotto's frescoes in its Basilica, certainly one of the most impressive examples of medieval art in the whole world. But Umbria has so much more to offer, starting with Italy's greenest landscapes and some very well-preserved medieval towns, including Perugia, Todi, Spoleto, and Orvieto.
Days 7-9: The Chianti
The Chianti occupies the area between Florence and Siena that was made famous by its prestigious wines, the historical towns and the elegant villas. Among the locations we will visit, we can mention San Gimignano, with its forest of stone towers, Colle Val d'Elsa, Montiriggioni, still enclosed within its pristine medieval walls, Volterra, Certaldo, and more.
We'll base ourselves again in a resort in the countryside, close to all the locations we intend to photograph.
Day 10: Return to Rome
On the last day of our tour, after breakfast, we'll take the fast train again, bound to Rome, where you will be able to catch a flight back home or to extend your stay in Italy, if you wish.
Food and Wine
No trip to Italy could be complete without sampling some of the delicious food and wine the country has to offer. In particular, this part of Italy boasts some of the finest wines and a cuisine that is deeply steeped in tradition and based on the freshest produce from the countryside.
We love tasty food and good wine and a tour with us is also a great chance to savour the best offerings of every region, each one having specific, local characteristics. Come with us and we'll take you to our most beloved restaurants and wine cellars.
A cooking class is also included in the price of the tour, giving you a wonderful opportunity to try your hand at some classical Italian recipes, as well as a winery tour.
Just keep in mind that some things are a no-no:
- Pineapple on pizza
- Fettuccine Alfredo with cream
- Cappuccino after 11AM
- McDonald's, KFC or other fast-food chains
Alright, we're kidding, but only a little bit.
With the exception of Rome, we will stay in nice resorts and agriturismos in the countryside. Most of them will have a swimming pool, so it will be possible to relax poolside during the hottest hours of the day. Some of them will also have a winery.
A list of all accommodations will be published shortly, so check back on this page for updates.
The Tour at a Glance
- The tour will be 10 days (9 nights) long, starting in Rome on September 20th and ending again in Rome on September 29th.
- The tour price is €6,000 per person based on double occupancy. Single-room accommodation is €600 (if available as single rooms are limited)
- Breakfast is included everyday as is a welcome dinner in Rome and a farewell dinner in Sorrento.
- Transportation with a private van and a professional driver is included.
- The price of the tour includes a private cooking class and a private winery tour.
- You will be accompanied by a professional photographer for the whole duration of the tour.
Yes, keep me updated!
Bookings for the tour are going to be open soon, as we are currently busy finalizing the accommodations and otherdetails of the tour. If you'd like to be informed as soon as we have new updates, please fill in the form below to get in touch with us.
Imagine having an opportunity to photograph some of the most incredible locations and people in the world’s most romantic city, Venice. And, during Carnevale! It was wonderful in every way. From the first email with Ugo, I could tell he was a caring, highly professional and experienced photographer and tour guide for us. He knew this city well and shared a lot before we were there.
I am so glad we chose Ugo and it was very special – my husband is still talking about it. There was so much to learn and interspersed with seeing a boat builder (gondolas), meeting the only professional puppet maker in Venice – and seeing how glass jewelry is made. Photo shoots were morning and night – you have to appreciate and be patient with the models. They are stunning.
The food also was wonderful – Ugo knew the best places. The group was small and allowed for intimate discussion and ease. We are so grateful for a truly immersive and learning experience in a magical city.
As I was spending my vacation in the Dolomites I arranged a one day private workshop with Ugo. Although I was a four hour drive from Ugo's home base he willingly made the journey — even though he was heading off to Barcelona first thing the next morning for another commitment.
Not having any transport or knowledge of the best locations to shoot having someone like Ugo was fantastic — and when you add his knowledge of photography and ability to impart that to his pupil it all added up to an outstanding day.
I recommend Ugo without reservation.
If you are planning to travel and love photography at any level Ugo can plan a personal tour to fit in with your itinerary! He has a wealth of knowledge to share with you on any subject of photography. Apart from photography (my passion) Ugo provides a total travel experience looking at Italy through the eyes of a local. A life changing trip leaving me totally hooked to book another! Thank you Ugo and yes I will be returning my dilemma is choosing a destination.
My husband and I did a workshop with Ugo in Cinque Terre. It was fantastic. Ugo is not only a great photographer, but he is generous with his knowledge, and he offers a great workshop. The group was international, which made the experience even richer.
I had a wonderful experience in Venice with Ugo. I learned new things while enjoying the wonderful city. I have some special needs which he was able to accommodate perfectly. I highly recommend his company for photo tours.
I have done 3 photo tours with 3 different guides and locations, this has been the best of the three. Ugo was definitely the best of the three guides. His attention to detail with setting the scene and location with models, suggestions on camera settings were helpful for me, a novice with portrait photography. I would definitely recommend any tour with Ugo, he is an excellent photographer willing to share his knowledge, experience and secrets of special places he knows to make the entire photography experience a lifetime memory.
What an extraordinary experience to participate in a photography tour and workshop with Ugo Cei Photography Tours, in Venice, Italy during the Venice Carnival. His knowledge of Venice along with the right place to be at the right time made this perfect. Add to that his technical and lighting knowledge and then to top it off the perfect local eateries and local interests. It was days full from daylight to evening at a manageable pace with likeminded new international friends. So glad I took the leap and participated.
After two photo tours with Ugo in Italy, I cannot recommend the experience highly enough – the local knowledge of Italy, partnered with photographic expertise and guidance made for an extremely rewarding photo tour! Ugo guides and mentors you according to your skills, regardless of whether you are a beginner or experienced enthusiast. I have come away with greater understanding of the craft and confidence to build my skill set. I am inspired to continue my learning journey to create beautiful images. Thank you Ugo!!!