The Florence Experience

Florence in November! When I read about the workshop happening, I immediately decided upon attending another one of Morten Krogvolds Italy workshops. The last one in Italy was in Rome 5 years ago. This time we went to Florence, instead of Rome. I had visited Florence some years previously, but only for a short stay, together with my girlfriend, my brother in law and my sister. Now I hoped to experience its magic and history a little deeper. After all we would stay for 8 days.

Morten Krogvold is a world-renowned Norwegian photographer, known for his captivating portraits and breathtaking black and white photographs. In addition to his photography, Krogvold has also been a photography teacher and mentor for many aspiring photographers. He has held numerous workshops and masterclasses around the world.

Krogvold’s work often focuses on the emotional and psychological aspects of photography, rather than just the technical aspects. He encourages his students to explore their own personalities and emotions in order to create truly unique and powerful images. He want us to create photos – or art – and not just to take photos.

Overall, Morten Krogvold is a respected and celebrated photographer who has made a significant impact on the world of photography through his art, mentorship, and passion for the craft. He also wants his students to experience high quality music, poetry and art and learn about our common cultural history. Florence is one of those places in Europe that ticks all of those boxes.

Located in the heart of Tuscany, Florence is a city that holds an exceptional historical and cultural significance in Italy and Europe. It is a city of Renaissance, art, and poetry that has helped shape the identity of not only Tuscany but also Italy as a whole.

Florence was founded as a Roman military colony in the first century AD, and it flourished during the medieval period under the rule of wealthy merchant families such as the Medici. In this time, the city became a hub of trade and finance, and it gained a considerable reputation as a center of learning and culture.

During the Renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries, literature, arts, and architecture bloomed in Florence. The works of legendary artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Botticelli defined the period and became iconic around the world. With the construction of Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome on top of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence became one of the most significant cultural centers of Europe, and Renaissance ideas spread throughout the continent from there.

Today, Florence remains a city of immense historical value, home to some of the world’s finest museums, churches, and monuments. It is an open-air museum that showcases a multitude of styles and periods, from Romanesque to contemporary, that make Florence a powerful and breathtaking experience for visitors all over the world.

The Arno River is an iconic sight in Florence and forms the heart of the city. The river flows through the center of Florence, dividing the city into two halves, with several bridges connecting the two sides. The river has played a critical role in the city’s history and culture, and its banks are bustling with life and activity.

The city center of Florence is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of the most beautiful and significant historical centers of Europe. It is home to several significant landmarks such as the magnificent Florence Cathedral mentioned previously, the medieval Palazzo Vecchio, and the iconic Ponte Vecchio.

The Ponte Vecchio is a famous bridge that straddles the Arno River and is one of Florence’s most photographed landmarks. The bridge is known for its unique architecture and its jewelry shops on the top level. It is an excellent spot to capture stunning views of the river and the city.

The Galleria degli Uffizi, also known as the Uffizi museum, is an art museum located in the city center, more or less next door to the Hotel degli Orafi where the we stayed during the workshop. The museum is one of the oldest and most famous in the world, containing a vast collection of Renaissance masterpieces, including works by Botticelli, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

During my stay, I tried to capture the city’s urban life, significant landmarks, breathtaking landscapes/cityscapes, and magnificent bird-life, especially the interesting starlings murmuring in the evening sky. That was one of the highlights of my trip. I had experienced the same phenomenon in Rome before, but it was still a great experience to see the starlings murmurating in the evening sky. It is an unforgettable sight, as thousands of birds fly in unison, creating a stunning choreography with their synchronized movements. It was fascinating to watch and capture this wonder of nature with my camera.

Florence is also a city renowned for its culture, food, and art. The Uffici Museum was a must-visit attraction for me, but it is very popular so Morten had us line up just as it opened up one morning. Me and my workshop friends were the more or less the first in line, eager to see the art pieces that we had only read about in books. As a bonus we were almost alone in the whole museum. A weird experience. I was blown away by the sheer grandeur and beauty of Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus, da Vinci’s Annunciation, and many other timeless masterpieces.

I also took the opportunity to explore the city’s vibrant streets, markets, and restaurants. I tasted Florentine delicacies such as Bistecca alla Fiorentina and other varieties of Tuscan food. Just walking through Florence’s streets revealed the city’s rich history and culture, including its artistic and architectural heritage.

As you can see from my photos, we also used a day to visit Sienna, another historically important city a few kilometres away fom Florence.

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