Only eight hours ago we stood on top of the world on the beautiful Monte Lussari in the NE of Italy, the final leg and crowning glory of our Slovenia & Croatia with a Pinch of Italy Photo Tour.
The tiny hamlet of Lussari in the province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia perched on a mountaintop at 5,900 feet, is one of our favorite places in the world.
Our group of eight photographers arrived at the base of the mountain yesterday around noon and was promptly whisked to the top by cable car. From there a short walk lead into the village where we checked into our rustic mountain Rifugio (B&B). We arrived in time for a delicious lunch of pizza and insalata mista, washing it all down with the local red wine followed by cappucinos and apple strudel before heading out to photograph the surrounding majestic peaks and distant lowland valleys.
From this viewpoint in Italy, one can see right into Austria and Slovenia. A plaque next to the entrance to the small 16th-century church of the Madonna of Lussari describes this lofty place as a sanctuary for the Three Peoples and to this day it is a pilgrimage destination for Italian, Slovenian and Austrian believers and a symbol of peaceful coexistence.
Magrit’s Austrian grandmother made the long journey to the sanctuary by foot via the picturesque Sentiero del Pellegrino (Pilgrim’s Path) that winds through the forest of Tarvisio, before the mountain was turned into a ski destination and the cable car provided easy access.
This is alpine country at its best. The weather can change from one second to the next at this altitude and within minutes we experienced torrential rain, hail, strong winds and dramatic thunder and lightning. We suited up with rain gear, umbrellas and camera protection as soon as the storm eased up and were rewarded with stunningly dramatic scenes.
Later, we arranged an early dinner with Jure, our Rifugio’s proprietor and savored a tasty three-course meal with choices ranging from deer goulash with polenta to homemade pasta. We always appreciate it when we get a chance to eat earlier than the customary dinner hours which start at 7:30 pm in Europe. As photographers we want to be out photographing during the common dinner hours when the quality of light is the best. After our great early dinner we were able to capture the misty blue gradations of the distant peaks and valleys. The earlier storm with all the moisture it produced really helped create the perfect conditions for these atmospheric photos.
The main reason for our group of photographers to venture to this somewhat remote location is to photograph the amazing small village, perched on top of the mountain during the evening Blue Hour. Click here to learn more about Blue Hour photography.
I have by now made five trips to this location and I’m always rewarded with stellar images. My first visit was on March 10th a couple of years ago, celebrating my 60th birthday. The mountain was covered with six feet of snow and Magrit and I were chilled to the bone but very happy after photographing both, Alpen Glow and evening Blue Hour.
After such a magical photo session on top of the world we stroll the 100 paces back to our Rifugio and cosy bedrooms for peaceful but short sleep so that we can get up at 4 am to catch the beauty of the mountain at the morning Blue Hour and sunrise.
Magrit and I are already looking forward to the treat of returning next year and again spending the night with our group on Monte Lussari as part of our Slovenia & Croatia with a Pinch of Italy Photo Tour.
|Jim and Magrit have been photographing professionally and traveling in Europe for the past 20 years.
They started Photography Travel Tours in 2011 with the goal of educating and guiding photographers to some of the most beautiful and iconic scenes in Europe.
The tours are not just about getting great photographs but also have the side benefits of doing so in wonderful environments. Great food, wine, people, and ambiance.
Read more about Jim & Magrit and their wonderful photo tours here: (http://photographytraveltours.com/about/).
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.