Puglia, one of my favorite regions in Italy, has so many varying landscapes to cover, from the cone shaped white stone trulli to the rugged coastline of the Salento. It is so beautiful that anyone who travels there feels a need to take the perfect picture. Visitors can do that if they take this trip sponsored by VAWAA in April alongside the professional photojournalist Manoocher Deghati who will instruct as he guides. There will also be events to photograph along with the natural vistas since it takes place during Holy Week. And of course, in this region known for its earthy, vivid cuisine, they’ll eat well, courtesy of his wife Ursula’s meals utilizing the varied agricultural produce of the area and the wine and olive oil that the two produce on their estate.
The tour starts on Palm Sunday in the scenic hill town Locorotondo with the benediction of the branches, a traditional Palm Sunday lunch and an analysis of participants’ work. Over the course of the week, the action moves to the cliffside town of Polignano a Mare, the cave village of Lama D’Antico and the Byzantine frescoes within its churches and on to the picturesque white city of Ostuni.
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Starting on Thursday of that week, religious activities share photo time with the natural surroundings. Between midnight on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, the statue of the Virgin Mary is carried through the streets in the town of Martina Franca followed by the Passione Vivente procession in the evening of Good Friday in the town of Alberobello, the Puglian town best known for its collection of trulli. Holy Saturday brings images of the Processione della Desonata in Canosa in which hundreds of women dressed in black hold a procession in honor of the Virgin Mary, the burning of the lentwitch in the evening and the burning of the Easter fire in front of the churches.
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Easter Sunday is a quieter day, consumed more with eating and drinking than roving the streets to photograph. The action moves outside the next day on Easter Monday to capture residents enjoying Easter picnics. An analysis of the week’s photos follows so participants can return home with advice on how to compose photos on their own. Or, given the bounty of the region, they would be wise to tack on another week and stay on to explore.