Still Life – Italian Cantina Style

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The natural beauty I found in the Pugliese cantinas went above and beyond. And what I loved most was how almost accidental it all seemed. Hay bales set aside for additional seating, green glass bottles once used but now left as eye-candy and wooden doors showing their age but not hiding their beauty. I love the idea of using what you have at your hands already to showcase the setting. And less is always more in my opinion too.

That is the beauty of Southern Italy in a nutshell. Natural, alluring, subtle but sexy.

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I always return from Italy or even just after having spent time with my photos of my trips, thinking about the things around me. So many things and some just taking up space. Filling a space but not creating a useful energy or purpose even. I have an unusual love for de-cluttering and get into my mode of needing to be surrounded only by objects that mean something, that I adore. My own sense of still life in my surroundings that bring with them happy memories.

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Puglia, Italia

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Cin Cin!

Cin Cin! (cheen cheen) how to pronounce the Italian’s version of Cheers!

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A visit to a cantina on the outskirts of the city of San Donaci, not too far from Mesagne, proved to be a splendid way to spend part of an afternoon with friends. Truthfully not open to the public, but we were allowed a tour since an American was in the group. My friends were very appreciative.

It was beautiful! Under the cantina were well-preserved wine barrels and bottles set up in their own stone walled rooms. The perfect picture taking opportunity for me.

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After the small tour, we went back up to the store and tried a couple different reds and whites. All delicious. Thankful for the taralli snacks set out to nibble on between wines. A typical Pugliese snack, taralli are similar to a hard pretzel or breadstick and come in a variety of flavors from salty to sweet and a whole lot of in between.

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Wine tasting is a great activity with friends and allows you to taste a particular cantina’s array of wines in one sitting without feeling the effects. Usually much more affordable than purchasing in a wine store too and buying right from the vineyard feels more special as well! Cheers!

 

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San Donaci, Puglia

beauty comes in all forms

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Photography for me is anything. I love taking pictures of nature, families, food, tiny streets and doors. But really I will take a picture of anything that captures me. Seems a little backwards since photography is the art of capturing your subject, but sometimes I truly feel as if the subject comes to me.

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No matter where I am, while I am out taking photos, I really try to not have a focus. In the case of when I take my families out for lifestyle photography I have an agenda or game plan for how my time with them will be comprised. Naturally, they want great pictures of their family. But sometimes a particular angle or something a family member does just randomly speaks out to me and I will make attempts to capture it for them. It may not be something that grabs them initially of anything particularly ground-breaking, but for me it’s a little bit of something extra. trenoWM

Manduria, Puglia, Italia

The something extra happens to me all the time in Italy. Taking pictures through the old centers of town, out at the beach or randomly alongside the road. Driving along and seeing this old train really spoke to me. Rather than have the metal recycled or the space cleared away, it was left. Left to become a canvas for others. A home to abandoned animals. Left to make its mark. A reminder to some that pass by of days gone by. Days long gone but still very much part of our today.

Matera

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Just over the border of Puglia, into the region of Basilicata is the town of Matera. The center of the old city, pictured above, lies on the top of a hill overlooking the valley below and has over 100 reasons for a visit. I’m going to give you just a few reasons.

The views.

From every angle in the town’s center is one breathtaking view after another. The Sassi first and foremost is a huge draw to tourists. The Sassi are the rockside dwellings in the hills pictured below. Many, many years ago the inhabitants of Matera were forced to leave town and made their new homes into these rocks.

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Gaze up into the city and your view will be an array of streets, tiny alleys and structures carved into the wall of the city. Visit on a bright sunny day like our last visit and you will definitely need your sunglasses from the blinding sun blazing off the stone buildings.

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The tiny streets.

Make your way from the bottom of the town of Matera to the top and you will come across one alley after another. Some are home to the locals, some are full of B&Bs and some boast one delicious restaurant or bar.

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The vendors.

Always helpful especially on a hot, sunny day in case you forgot your hat.

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Door art.

Yes, doors are art to me, especially in Italy. There are no two that are alike to me and each has its own special personality.

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Random art.

Statues nestled into streets create a gentle reminder to stop walking, take a rest and snap a picture.

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Although most likely placed purposefully, I love random bottles or jugs that pop into street scenes. A very common sighting when in Italy.

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Non-imposing decorative wall art is a favorite to pick out in towns too. How many just walk right by something like this and not take notice? I hope not many.

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The churches.

Like most Italian towns, Matera is home to many churches and to a cathedral, Duomo di Matera or the Cattedrale di Santa Maria della Bruna e di Sant’Eustachio. Try saying that five times fast.

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Texture

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Puglia, Italia

I was mesmerized by what I saw at the cantina. And not just by the delicious wine, although that was of course our primary reason for the visit. Rough rope coiled over a smooth glass bottle nestled in a sea of tiny pebbles. The colors are some of my most favorite – the browns in the rope, the green translucent bottle and the white, cream and grey rocks.

Taking a different vantage point, I decided to shoot down onto the scene. Up close and personal. That’s always an interesting angle for me.

I decided that this image I may turn into an enlarged canvas photo for a wine lover’s gift.

among the fields of lavender

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Manduria, Puglia

Precious moments graze against our palms. Quickly entering our lives, so quickly that we can not grasp fast enough, can’t hold them for more than a mere second. A moment passes us by immediately followed by another. And another. And another. The perfume of those seconds linger, dance above our heads and leave us.