The other day I was chatting with some of my twitter friends about travel and photography and some of us shared photos from our travels around the world.

I know looking at other people’s holiday shots is not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love it and get really inspired: they make me want to go travel, triggering that kind of positive envy that makes you work harder to achieve what you want.

But when I look at the photos I take, I feel they are not as powerful: despite decent equipment I seem to rarely capture the place or the moment in a way that gives it justice and this results in a good bit of frustration.

So I have decided that one day, I am going to go on a photography holiday and I am going to dive into a week of travelling and learning, two of my favourite things in the world!

Since I am rediscovering Italy, the photography holiday I would like to go on is close to home. It’s in Umbria and is a one week photo holiday complete with classes, field trips and of course time off.

The holiday is guided by a professional photographer, Patrick Nicholas: Patrick is from the UK but he elected Italy as his home a long time ago and is therefore now a true local. Patrick is based in Orvieto, in Umbria, but has a land rover he uses to bring his students on location, which I think it’s a  real fun way to explore the area!

I have spoken with Patrick a few time and this is what his photography holiday looks like.


Orvieto is a peculiar and interesting town, perched on near vertical cliff walls, in Umbria, about 100 kilometers north of Rome. It dates back to pre-roman times and still maintains vestiges of many layers of history – Etruscan, Roman and medieval -but it is also a very dynamic place, full of shops, restaurants and cafes. It really embodies what Italy is better known for: an incredible mix of old and new, where history and architecture are intertwined with modern life and not just a beautiful backdrop. 


 Accommodation is in La Soffitta, a family run B&B in the centre of town. Breakfast is offered in the bar (cafe’) across from the B&B, on Piazza del Popolo. I am told that here you can have a standard Italian breakfast but you can also indulge in one of their specialties:  cioccolato!


Lunch is usually on location and consists either of a generous picnic (buffalo mozzarella, parma ham, pecorino cheese, seasonal veg, fruit and local wine) or food from a local rosticceria (take away).

The course includes at least one evening meal in a restaurant, with Patrick and the other course participants: usually one of the meals is in Orvieto and the second one on lake Bolsena, which happens to be famous not only for its beauty but also for its fresh fish and for the local white wine Est! Est! Est! After all, no  holiday in Italy  is complete without some indulgence on local food and wine!


Among the many beautiful locations Patrick chose for his classes there are: Orvieto, of course, Lake Bolsena and its fishing villages, the archaeological park of Vulci, Pitigilano, Civita di Bagnoregio (the dying city) and Val d’Orcia, maybe the most famous of all Tuscany landscapes.

travel and photography

Civita di Bagnoregio. Photo credit: Patrick Nicholas.

Patrick chose these places because of their beauty but also because they have characteristics that make them good learning grounds to experiment with photography, especially depth of field, colour composition, dynamic range photography, movement and portaiture.

The course is for anyone with an interest in photography. All levels of skills are welcome: the groups are always small (no more than 6 participants). This sounds like the perfect holiday for me and I can’t wait to have the time to go. 

Have you ever been to Orvieto or to Patrick’s classes? If so, I’d love to read you comments!

If you’d like to get additional information or think you might want to book, please let me know and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with Patrick directly.

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