Impressions of Tuscany/Venice – Session 1


Impressions of Tuscany/Venice – Session 1

April 24 – May 4, 2022


Location: Tuscany & Venice (Italy)
Group Size: 12

See Image Gallery and Workshop Details below.

* Estimated price per person (double occupancy)
Single Room Supplement: $795

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Image Gallery

Workshop Details

Journey to the heart of Tuscany during the peak Spring flowering season. If you have ever dreamed of a trip to Italy to photograph gardens and rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, then this is the trip for you.

May is one of the best times to visit Italy, as the weather is lovely, the landscape is fresh green, and it is prior to the major tourist season.

What to expect on your trip:  

  • Photograph for nine days during peak spring bloom in the gardens, vineyards, and rolling hills of Tuscany.
  • Extend another three days, photographing the canals and amazing architecture of Venice.
  • You’ll also have the opportunity to hone your macro skills with a palette of Iris, Roses, and Wisteria.
  • Informal image reviews and lectures will be interspersed throughout your time in Tuscany. Field instruction emphasizes creative macro, impressionistic, multiple-exposure, and artistic smartphone photography.

Charles Needle and Strabo Tours have fine-tuned this trip by adding some great spots and wonderful towns Charles has explored. The first part of your trip will center on Florence, the capital of Tuscany, the city where the Renaissance began… a living museum of art and culture. Explore and photograph its gardens, streets and piazzas.

Depart city life and be transported into the beautiful Tuscan hill towns. Discover picturesque medieval villages surrounding San Gimignano. Then travel south to photograph iconic Tuscan landscapes surrounding Pienza, one of the most charming, quintessential villages in all of Tuscany, with its charming narrow streets and artisan Pecorino cheese shops. 

You will be among the best-preserved landscapes in Italy, some virtually unchanged since artists depicted them five hundred years ago. The region has large areas of woodlands, interspersed with vineyards and dotted with medieval towns high on hills and ridges. The quality of light here has inspired generations of artists. Your journey will explore this glorious land in depth. Everywhere there is something of compelling beauty, curiosity, and interest — brilliant architecture, classic Tuscan landscapes, the daily life of the people themselves, providing continuity between past and present. There will also be time to relax and have photo discussions.

The emphasis of your trip is on photography, yet this is much more than a photographic tour. Charles welcomes tour companions who are not photographers. There are interesting aspects of Italian life waiting to be explored in every location. The trip’s leisurely pace will provide ample opportunity to wander through medieval hill towns and feast on the renowned regional foods and wines.


• 8 ½ full days photographing in some of the most picturesque cities and villages in all of Europe.

• Welcome Reception, 4 lunches (one is a special wine tasting lunch at a Tuscan vineyard).

• 9 breakfasts.

• 2 dinners, including a final evening pasta-making class and farewell dinner at an Italian farmhouse.

• Ground transportation during the tour.

• Garden entrance fees.


• Airfare. (Upon request, we can provide a travel agent who will book your airfare. Additional

surcharges may apply.)

• Airport transfers.

• Some lunches and some dinners (including alcoholic beverages).

• Optional travel insurance. (Strongly recommended. Strabo Tours can provide information on this upon booking.)

• COVID-19 testing prior to arrival or departure, or during the tour

• Other incidentals such as laundry, phone calls, tips & gratuities, etc.


Four-star accommodations are included in the price.  You’ll stay 3 nights in Florence, 2 nights in San Gimignano and 4 nights in Pienza.


You’ll want to fly into Florence Airport, Peretola (FLR).  We suggest an overnight flight from the US on April 24 to arrive the following day.  The workshop begins with an orientation and “meet and greet” session around 4 pm on April 25 and ends the week with a group Farewell Dinner May 3.  If you’re participating in the optional Venice extension (May 4-7), you’ll want to book a multi-city flight itinerary (home > FLR, VCE > home).


Airport transfers are not included in the workshop price.  Strabo Tours will provide more details about airport transfers upon registration.


• Monday, April 25

Arrive in Florence.  Meet & Greet and orientation and opening reception at the hotel starting around 4 pm.  Photography field session in the Iris and Rose Gardens of Florence.  Photograph panoramic views of Florence at sunset from nearby Piazzale Michelangelo.

• Tuesday, April 26

Sunrise walk to photograph the famous Ponte Vecchio.  City walking tour and street photography.  Visit the beautiful terraced garden of the Bardini family with amazing views of Florence.  Sunset shoot at the Ponte Vecchio bridge.

• Wednesday, April 27

Spend the morning photographing in and around the Piazza della Signoria, famous Duomo cathedral, whose massive dome was designed by Brunelleschi.  Visit local markets and artisan shops.  Free time to enjoy one of the many art museums of the city.  Sunset photography field session.

• Thursday, April 28

Check out of Florence hotel.  Private morning visit to photograph in the nearby Torrigiani Gardens, the largest private garden in Europe, filled with botanical wonder and situated within city boundaries of Florence.  Special wine tasting lunch at a Tuscan vineyard.  Photograph around the grounds of the vineyard after lunch.  Afternoon arrival at our hotel in the heart of San Gimignano, one of the most picturesque of Italian hill towns.  More street photography on foot and evening light opportunities.

• Friday, April 29

Photograph in several nearby Tuscan hill towns, among them Volpaia, one of Chianti’s most beautiful fortified villages, and Castellina in Chianti, another charming town that features a tunnel street that served as a soldier’s walk when the town was a Florentine bastion.

• Saturday, April 30

Check out of San Gimignano hotel and drive to Pienza, a beautiful hill town that has a picturesque central plaza and was built according to architectural plans that later were used in building some of Italy’s most beautiful and famous structures.  Photograph among Pienza’s charming narrow streets and visit specialty food stores.  Explore the surrounding countryside.  Evening wine and Pecorino cheese tasting.  (Pienza is known for its Pecorino cheeses!)

• Sunday, May 1

Visit the picturesque hill town of Montalcino, known for the Brunello grapes that grow on its slopes and the fortress that sits atop the town.  Photograph the nearby monastery, Sant’Antimo, built around the year 1100, a splendid Romanesque abbey and church set in the peaceful countryside where you can also explore nearby olive groves and vineyards with your camera.  Evening light field shoot at Bosco di Cipressi, an iconic group of cypress trees on a hillside.

• Monday, May 2

Sunrise field shoot in the Val d’Orcia, where we’ll photograph an iconic Tuscan villa with rolling hills and valleys bathed in golden morning light.  After breakfast at the hotel, visit other picturesque medieval villages, such as Monticchiello and Montepulciano, San Quirico d’Orcia and their surrounding pastoral landscapes.  

• Tuesday, May 3

Visit Villa La Foce, a fifteenth century Italian garden with box hedges, lemon trees, a rose garden and a Wisteria-covered pergola.  Afternoon free.  Final evening pasta-making class and farewell dinner at an Italian farmhouse.

• Wednesday, May 4

Morning departures for Florence or Venice, if you’re continuing on with Charles for that part of the tour.


All skill levels and camera formats welcome on this tour, including smartphone cameras.


No strenuous activity will be involved during the tour; however, be prepared to walk on medieval cobblestone streets for 1-3 miles on some days, and possibly more in Venice, depending on your level of adventurousness.  Most Tuscan villages have steep hills, so you may wish to travel light in terms of photo gear.  A modest level of health and fitness will greatly enhance your trip experience.


Subject to terms and conditions as outlined by Strabo Tours.



May 4-7, 2022
Cost: $1895
Single Room Supplement: $525
Location: Venice & Burano, Italy

Venice, legendary city of art and the capital of the Veneto region, is built on an archipelago of more than a 100 small islands separated by a dense network of 177 canals, and joined by 400 small bridges. Water is everywhere, shaping the life of the city, and reflecting its compelling beauty. The city is an exotic blend of Gothic, Byzantine and Renaissance styles and appears today much as it did in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Venice is a wonderful city to explore on foot. As you wander the streets and alleys, you’ll see dark passageways that end in sunlit squares, palatial buildings lining the canals, ornate bridges spanning the waterways, and beautiful cathedrals in every quarter. You do not have to go far to see gondolas moored under tiny stone bridges, and laundry hung out of house windows or across the alleys to dry.

Your tour will include a visit to the tiny island of Burano, scarcely more than a half-mile wide and a forty-minute boat ride across the lagoon. Burano is one of the most colorful and photogenic places anywhere.


• Wednesday, May 4

Arrive in Venice after lunch and take an introductory tour of the city with a private local guide.  Visit the Piazza San Marco, Ducal Palace, Bridge of Sighs and other famous landmarks.  Optional sunset photography session.

• Thursday, May 5

Sunrise photo shoot along the Grand Canal, just steps from our hotel.  With help from our private local guide, wander through narrow alleyways and cross bridges to photograph some of the less frequented areas of the city, including a panoramic view of Venice from a rooftop deck, the local fish, fruit and vegetable market, Rialto Bridge, and shops where generations of Venetian artisans still make masks and carve wooden gondolas by hand.  Sunset photography session.

• Friday, May 6

Sunrise photo shoot along the Grand Canal or other parts of the city.  Breakfast at the hotel.  Explore two islands in the lagoon by water taxi: Burano and Murano.  Murano is famous for its unique and colorful selections of glassware, while the colorful island of Burano features quiet, winding streets and canals lined with fishing boats and tiny houses washed in bright colors, resembling something from the pages of a storybook.

• Saturday, May 7

Optional photo shoot along the Grand Canal or other parts of the city.  Depart late morning or after for your flight home.


Subject to terms and conditions as outlined by Strabo Tours.

Click here for more information & to register.

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