... continues from the article published on page 70 of the August-September 2017 issue of Borghi Magazine.
Primavera neiBorghi 2017 was the first phase of the four contests that tell about the villages during all 4 seasons; after three intense months, when people published almost 6000 photos on Instagram, we chose our first finalist. The photo selected by the Yallers’ team is the one that best represented Italian villages during springtime. The author, Marcantonio Marrocoli, @marcantoniomarrocoli on Instagram, captured on camera a village called Melezzole near his hometown.
It is an Umbrian village, district of Montecchio’s municipality in the province of Terni, not so famous but certainly very fascinating. The shot depicts a glimpse of the characteristic village, coloured with spring tones and with green embellishing everything. In its simplicity it best represents the beauty of Italian villages.
We asked a few questions to Marcantonio, who told us about his love for villages and photography.
Hi Marcantonio, first of all congratulations! You are the first winner of the contest on the villages that Yallers has organized to enhance these Italian jewels throughout the seasons. Are you satisfied?
Yes very much. Especially I did not expect my photo to be chosen from so many. Thank you very much, it was a great surprise and satisfaction.
Your photo is portraying a village in your own region, Umbria, is it a place you're particularly tied to? How?
The picture portrays the beautiful village of Melezzole, I'm tied to it beacause is very near but above all to a detail, at home I have a picture that portrays this town and I look at since I was little. The glimpse I represented is just that of the picture, this was the reason for the photo. I found it in front of me and I took it instinctively after having recognized it with great surprise.
When was the photo taken, do you remember why did you go there?
The photo was taken on the very day of the publication, in May, exactly on the 9th. I went to the village with the intent to take some photos and to accompany some friends visiting the area to see some nice places. I did not went back there for so many years, although it was so close and it was pleasant. We've been shooting in some villages around, Umbria is really rich.
That day, like a while ago, there was a wonderful climate, sure enough to take some photographs.
What did you use to take this photograph? Did you postphoto the photo?
I shot with my Reflex, a Nikon D3200, lens18/105. There was no post-production but a minimum on Instagram. I do not like to tune my photos too much, I think it's better to bring reality back to the way it is. Like in this shot.
What did you want to sommunicate with this shot?
I wanted to communicate the simplicity and beauty of this glimpse, how beautiful it is in is small being.
The your passion for photography was born?
I have to say that I have been passionate about photography thanks to my dad. I often used his cameras. Photography is for me a way to immortalize my emotions and make them live and to make people curious and know new places to those who haven't being there yet. Since a year and a half I opened the Instagram account and started to shoot and post more often.
What is Instagram role?
Well Instagram is for me as an archive, an album where I can easily review my shots. It's nice to review past memories. Also, as I said earlier, it is interesting to use it to make known even lesser-known places, just like some of the little-known italian villages.
From your Instagram gallery we can see that you are passionate about villages and you have seen so many of them. What fascinates you about these places?
The thing that fascinates me most is certainly the authenticity of these places. Wherever you go abroad, from the villages you can see the authentic life of that region, of that geographical area. Walking you see the people who live there that may greet you and smile at you, there is a different atmosphere from the city. Feel the hospitality of the place, it is difficult to explain but easier to perceive by visiting these places.
When is the passion for these places and the desire to photograph them was born?
It certainly has deep roots, living in the countryside, near a village, Baschi, I have always loved these realities of everyday life, where everything is smaller. Then I also started photographing them to tell about them and let them find out by who has never been there.
We often question about the real meaning of the word Borgo (village), how many inhabitants should have to be considered as such and on the characteristics. How do you know that is a borgo? We are curious...
Well I definitely recognize a village because it is not very big but not just that. The number of inhabitants is not all, the village must be alive in its center and be authentic and inhabited, still, by people, with a well-kept and not abandoned old town. Orvieto for example is a bit bigger city, I do not know if it can be defined as a borgo, but when you walk into the historic center you have that impression.
Well, there are so many and it's not easy to choose. I would say Spello since there is nothing relevant to see, every road, every glimpse becomes precious. This is his strength. It is also very cared for, thanks to the people who live there, they hold us so much and they do a really good job. A real gem to visit. It's amazing how well its looked after and well kept. Another village that I have in my memory is near Arezzo, its name is Loro Ciufenna. It is a village created by a stream, from which it takes its name, which dug a gorge where the village rises. Really impressive.
In your opinion, what is the region that can better value the villages?
The most obvious answer would be Tuscany because it has really beautiful and valuee villages but I also would answer my region, Umbria. In Umbria there are really many villages and are well kept. They represent a very important wealth for the region and also at a tourist level it is very much about them.
But what is the most special village you visited?
Definitely Santa Restituita, a very small hamlet surrounded by greenery in the province of Terni. The peculiarity is that all the houses of the village overlook a road that is nothing but a staircase of about 2-300 meters. Really unique.
A funny anecdote happened while shooting in the alleyways of the villages?
Well it often happened that they asked me what I find in what I am photographing, how can I ever photograph that street or house. Recently a friend of a nearby village told me that even he who lived there had never photographed that square in his town.
About the contest, have you ever had the feeling of villages changing during the seasons?
The villages always change with the changing seasons, especially in terms of colors. For example, in the spring they are filled with flowers, in winter it is more melancholy to walk around. I have experienced a deep diversity in Civita di Bagnoregio where in spring and summer there is a crowd of tourists while in winter it is totally different, with very few people. The atmosphere changes but the fact that it is less frequented makes it more enjoyable to visit in winter.
What is the season in which you love to visit the villages and to photograph them?
They are beautiful in all seasons, but Spring has, of course, an extra gear: temperatures are better and more suitable to visit and light is ideal for taking beautiful pictures, not too hot nor too cold.
Did you already know the Yallers project? What do you think about it?
I came to know the contest by chance, seeing the hashtag #primaveraneiborghi2017 used by a friend of mine, but I never thought about winning this photo contest was really that simple. Yallers is a truly remarkable project because it aims to promote the territory and to discover the places of our country as spectacular as the villages. Thank you.
Thanks Marcantonio for the good chat! Continue to post your photos and tell the villages in the seasons!
The second classified photo is also from Umbria, which we can say, has brought so many beautiful shots in the gallery of #primaveraneiborghi2017. The photo of Vanessa Profidia, on Instagram @vanessa__p, portrays Spello from the Venus Gate, one of the six gates of the hamlet, so called for proximity to a temple dedicated to the goddess of beauty.
Here's what Vanessa told me about his shot:
"During an exam period, every excuse is good to unplug, especially if the excuse is a walk in the open air. My friend Cristina suggests going to the towers of Properzio We come to the place, I saw a little alley and weave, there is a purple bicycle full of colorful flowers... I call my friend to let her see but she is already far away, she is heading to the towers, so I decided to take the photo . "
And the result is really worthwhile, we add to it!
The third classified shot takes us to Lazio, in the very favorite seaside village of Sperlonga, in the province of Latina with a corner that knows how intimate and cozy it almost looks like a living room in the hamlet.
The author of the photo Barbara Cicconi (on Instagram you find her as @barbi.giangiu) took her picture by strolling through the alleys of Sperlonga, which she says
"it welcomes you with its charming and enchanting views."