The drive from Venice, Italy, to Florence, Italy was our first real introduction to rural Italy. When we drove from Milan to Venice it was late evening via toll highways which offered few views of the areas we were were passing through. For our drive to Florence we selected secondary roads to enjoy some of the flavors of smaller Italian towns and countryside.
Brief stops along the way included Castle Estense or Castle of Saint Michele in Ferrara, Italy, and the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi in Bologna, Italy. We ventured inside both the Castle and the Basilica but photos were only allowed in the Castle.
The castle was built in stages beginning in the late 1300’s and was at one point in time a “proper” castle with moat, drawbridge and “populated” dungeons.
The dungeons were a little unnerving knowing so many people suffered and died there in almost total darkness crowded, maltreated and/or tortured. The dungeon window below admitted a little light but some dungeon cells had no windows.
The brick floor of the hallway leading to the dungeons is captured below showing the wear over the ages. Can you imagine the stories of lost souls it could tell.
Of course the rooms and upper floors of the castle were wonderfully light and rich for the privileged ruling families.
There were even areas where family and guest could enjoy the outdoors privately and safely.
I’m not sure if this staircase is part of the original structure or if it was added at some later date but it was nicely done. The young woman in red is definitely a much later addition.
A couple of Italian “flavor” photos from Bologna follow. The area around the Basilica di Santa Maria dei Servi, where we drove, was like a maze and our GPS was totally useless as we went in circles on very narrow streets trying to exit.
This last photo is for any interested photographers to give some idea of the DR and capabilities of the Olympus E-M5. This was shot down a dark thick stone window slit with bright noon sun outside, and the E-M5 still picked up most of the details from beyond the slit while retaining detail of the shadows in the stone wall. I expected the highlights of the window slit to be blown out. This photo was only slightly adjusted in Lightroom 4.