"Visual Storytelling"

Photography workshop with René van Bakel in Umbria and Tuscany
Photography holidays at Lake Trasimeno in Italy

Pleasantly learn how to build a Photo Story 
with internationally acclaimed photographer René van Bakel
Join us for one week of photography travel in Italy !

© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

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Tagliata al rosmarino.© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Tagliata al rosmarino.© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

Both Tuscany and Umbria are gorgeous.

However it is not that simple to catch that beauty in one single shot. Fortunately you don’t have to, as you can use more than just one image to create a compelling narrative.

Via the subject of Italian Cuisine we will try to capture the soul of these famous Italian regions, as their Culinary Art not only consists of delicious food and wine, but also reflects the culture and the warmth of its people. However this story would not be complete without the spectacular local scenery, which forms the perfect backdrop for our tell tale. 

At the end of the week, we will choose your best shots and put them in a sequence and transform them into a beautiful documentary which can also be made into a photo book (Cyberlab - photobook - software)

We want to experience Umbria and Tuscany with all our senses, to make this week an unforgettable experience.

Do you want to join?
Secure your spot and book NOW !

Slideshow Photo-Workshop in Umbria Tuscany with René van Bakel

This workshop is not only a unique reason to travel, it also gives you the possibility to share your love for photography with like minded people.

Lake Trasimeno is situated amidst the rolling hills of Western Umbria near the Tuscan border. Of course both Umbria and Tuscany are famous regions, renowned for their beautiful country side and their fill of historic places, art and culture. Illustrous cities like Assisi and Orvieto (Umbria) as well as Cortona and Montepulciano (Tuscany) are all within reach.

These inspiring surroundings form the backdrop for a special photography workshop under the passionate guidance of René van Bakel.

Cortona. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Cortona. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

What you will learn

Passionate gestures. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

In this course you will learn everything you need to accomplish a captivating Visual StoryOn top of that René will briefly explain the technical basics of an SLR camera such as shutter speed, aperture, ISO setting, focal length and the basic rules for a good composition, in an easy and understandable way. We will practice this freshly gained knowledge in the stunning scenery starting right at your doorstep. The results will be discussed with you on a daily basis, both in group sessions as well as on an individual basis throughout the day.
You can be sure that René van Bakel will not save on practical tips from his more than twenty years of experience of working as a professional photographer.

Tuscan landscape. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Tuscan landscape. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

With our images we will first try to „write“ little stories of these two famous regions and their culture. In addition to images of the food and beverages, of the ingredients and their preparation, the local scenery and architecture also will be included.

The central theme for the week will be culinary art indulgence and the pleasures of life.

About your Instructor

René van Bakel. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
René van Bakel. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

René van Bakel originates from the Netherlands. He is an award-winning photographer, journalist, book author and founder/CEO of the globally operating photo agency ASAblanca, head quartered in Vienna (Austria). 

In 1994 he published a book about the aid campaign for more than a million refugees of war in Ruanda/Goma. In 1996 he received the international press award for war correspondents for his photo report on Srebrenica/Bosnia. Also about this, a book was published. For more than 20 years now, René works for a great variety of international media (e.g. LA Times, VOGUE DE, National Geographic USA, GEO, Le Figaro, Stern, Bloomberg NYC, Preview Dubai, Doctors without borders, US Air Force, Der Standard/Rondo, Servus Magazin, Universum Magazin).

He adopted Vienna as his new home and created concepts and photographed for combined cook/culture/travel books about the Austrian Wine- and Forest Quarter. In 2015 René published the exclusively authorized anniversary volume „450 YEARS SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL“ which was also initiated by him. For his photos he has received the prestigious "Oneeyeland-Award" Bronze in the category Documentary.
He currently works on several new book projects. On top of this René portrayed and interviewed many celebrities, also in Tuscany where he created home-stories with the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, bestseller author Frances Mayes as well as sculptor and painter Fernando Botero, whom he exclusively portrayed amidst the exhibition in honour of his 80th birthday in Pietrasanta (published in Vogue DE). Since many years René directs photography courses in Italy and elsewhere.

More information about René at www.ASAblanca.com

© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
© Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

"In my long career as a photographer and journalist I have first hand seen and experienced many of the dark sides of life. This is probably exactly why I feel an insanely great pleasure when capturing the beautiful sides of life and enjoy them with all my senses.
A stunning landscape or a piece of local architecture, harmoniously fitting the landscape, both of them getting even more beautiful when I am patient enough to wait for that magical golden light.
To record „for eternity“ an honest meal, cooked full of devotion, according to a millennia old recipe with simple, honest and fresh ingredients. Served as a work of art, only to disappear forever in the hungry mouths of the guests just a few moments later.
To catch the emotions, the warmth, the expressive gestures of the people I am communicating with or whom I just observe. At a able, a historic place or at one of the many sagre, the traditional Italian village feasts…
I feel privileged to be able to document these moments and convert them into a Visual Story and to share this narrative with so many people by publishing it in a magazine or even a book.
And because I’m a person who likes to share, I love to show you how to create such a spellbinding tale, using your camera yourself!"
René van Bakel

Workshop Program

Day of arrival (Saturday): Welcome drinks and dinner at Villa La Rogaia

Day 1 (Sunday): "Plunge into the middle ages"
After a preliminary discussion, a theoretical discussion and a light lunch we embark on our first photo adventure: In Assisi, the spiritual capital of the world, we wander through the alleys, following the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi. Later in the afternoon we will submerge into a medieval festival, the „Palio of San Rufino“. We will photograph the historical costume procession as well as the traditional crossbow shooting. After this we will conclude the day in style, with medieval cuisine at the restaurant "Il Medioevo".

Freshly made delicacies at Ristorante "Il Pozzo Antico" in Cortona. René van Bakel. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Freshly made delicacies at Ristorante "Il Pozzo Antico" in Cortona. René van Bakel. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

Day 2 (Monday
): „Delicious dishes varying from Etruscan to modern"
Today's destination is Cortona on the border between Tuscany and Umbria. After a culinary shooting and lunch in restaurant  "Il Pozzo Antico" we will take a stroll passing squares and hidden angles of the Etruscan town. We will also visit some of the exhibitions of the international photo festival "Cortona on the Move".
In the evening hours we will head out for some sunset shots at Lake Trasimeno before we will have dinner on the waterfront.


Grapes for the famous Brunello di Montalcino. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Grapes for the famous Brunello di Montalcino. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

Day 3 (Tuesday): „Vineyards, wine and cypresses“
We visit the wine-growing region of Montalcino and learn how the world famous „Brunello di Montalcino“ is grown and vinified at the  San Polino winery of Luigi Fabbro and Katia Nussbaum. They will show us their wine cellar as well as their scientifically managed biological vineyard. Subsequently we will enjoy a wine tasting of their beautiful Brunello wine. In the late afternoon, we will go out to create some stunning images of the vineyards and the Sangiovese grapes that, together with the fruitful soil, form the heart of the San Polino Brunello wine. When the evening comes we will drive through the Crete countryside and stop to shoot the iconic cypress island between Montalcino and San Quirico before we carry on to „ideal city“ Pienza, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here we will enjoy the sunset/twilight hour and a good Tuscan meal in the "Osteria Sette di Vino".

Fishing boat trip on Lake Trasimeno. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Fishing boat trip on Lake Trasimeno. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

Day 4 (Wednesday): "Fish on the table“
In the early morning we embark on a fishing boat trip on Lake Trasimeno, photographing the fishermen at work. Back on shore we will observe how the fish will be prepared for us, and subsequently will be consumed by us. In the afternoon we will visit the famous ceramic manufacturer "Torretti" at Deruta and experience how Maestro Caravaggi releases  from its molding one of the famous Deruta ceramic plates, on which one day a delicious meal will be served.
In the evening we drive to nearby Todi, a small hill town, where a twilight dinner featuring a spectacular panoramic view awaits us.

Ristorante "Tre Cristi" in Siena. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Ristorante "Tre Cristi" in Siena. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

Day 5 (Thursday): „In Gourmet land“
Today the story of Siena is on our to-do-list:
In the morning hours we will be allowed access into Siena’s oldest restaurant "Tre Cristi", a legend of the city. Already for many centuries the organizers and city notables meet regularly In the restaurant's „secret room“ to set the course of the cities most important event, the Palio di Siena. In contrast to the discreet and dimly lit room, the kitchen offers full transparency as it features a glass window onto the public alleyway. Here we can watch the chefs and take photos of how they prepare their dishes, which will be turned into our meal which is to be accompanied by a good wine, selected from Tre Cristi's richly stocked enoteca.
In the early afternoon we will go out and visit local delis and portray the owners with their respective culinary treasures. Of course you are allowed to buy them too, so you can take the flavor of this ancient city and share it with your loved ones back home. Later on we will photograph Siena's scenery; its famous squares, the typical buildings and it's terraces in the best afternoon light.
In the early evening we will part and on the way back to La Rogaia we will visit Asciano and be able to photograph the breathtaking scenery around this Tuscan village in the majestic light of the sunset and/or twilight. At the "Osteria Amordivino" in Asciano we will let the day come to an end.

Day 6 (Friday): "Truffle paradise“
The last day of our photo week leads us into the Upper Tiber Valley, one of the lesser known beauties of Eastern Tuscany. We will accompany a truffle seeker and his dog in search of the black gold. At "Tartufi Bianconi"  we will observe and record how the freshly found truffles will be prepared for us in a broad array, to be tasted and eaten by us. In the afternoon, back at La Rogaia, we will summarize our photo experiences in a debriefing.
There will also be an introduction and a short demonstration of the photo book software and if you like you can create and order a photo book. Conclusively we will enjoy a relaxed farewell dinner/evening at La Rogaia.

Day of departure (Saturday): After breakfast, an eventful week comes to an end. But in your luggage you will carry all the stories you experienced this week, recorded „for eternity“ with your camera!

Subject to minor changes in the program


Olives backlit. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Olives backlit. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com

This workshop is divided in theory lessons, lots of live practicing and discussing the images afterwards as well as on the spot. As a result of this thoroughly proven method you can be sure to comprehensively improve your photographic skills!

Please note: Since we also will have macro (close up) photo shootings as well as photo shootings at night, it is recommended to bring a tripod.

Because we are shooting digital pictures please also bring your own laptop and a card reader (USB 3 is recommended) in order to quicken the process of downloading images.

Instruction will take place on 6 days full dayThe language of instruction is English, German, Dutch and Italian (depending on the origin of the majority of the students, we will pick a main language. Individually though René will speak to you in your language, provided it is one of the before mentioned).

Maximum number of participants: 12 persons

Do you want to join?
Secure your spot and book NOW !

Lodging and Food

Mamma Ornella. Photo: Rogaia
Mamma Ornella. Photo: Rogaia

"La Rogaia" is a romantic country house amidst the rolling green hills above Lake Trasimeno in Umbria. Our guests stay in rooms or spacious apartments, all recently renovated with an artistic flair and art works by the sculptor and painter Wolfgang Sandt.  The buildings are surrounded by a large garden with a swimming pool. You can enjoy perfect tranquility overlooking lavender fields, olive groves. vineyards and the rooling hills of Umbria.

Enjoy two evening meals at Villa La Rogaia with Umbrian and Tuscan cuisine, sitting at a long table like an Italian family. Our cook Ornella uses local organic products, partly grown at La Rogaia. And when she makes her appearance, with bowls full of home made pasta, torta al testo and other typical plates the whole room fills not only with the profumo of good food but also with her laughter and her Mediterranean temperament.
On the other  five days the group will have either lunch or dinner at restaurants close to the photo shooting locations (included in the price). The remaining meals can be picnics or light refreshments in restaurants on the way (not included in the price).


Cosy apartments at Villa La Rogaia. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
Cosy apartments at Villa La Rogaia. © Foto: René van Bakel/ASAblanca.com
  • EUR 1850 per person and week in double room at La Rogaia
  • EUR 2050 per person and week in single room at La Rogaia

Included in the preice:

  • Intensive photography workshop with René van Bakel at different photo locations for about 8 hours per day on 6 days (detailed program see above) 
  • Accommodation as chosen for 7 nights
  • Halfboard for 7 days: 7 breakfasts, 2 dinners at La Rogaia, 5 dinners or lunches at selected restaurants in Umbria and Tuscany. All beverages included.
  • If you arrive by train: pickup service from Passignano sul Trasimeno railway station.

Not included in the price:

  • Extra charge for lodging in private apartment for 2 persons (with private bathroom, kitchenette and terrace): depending on the size of the apartment from EUR 60 to EUR 200  per person per week (double occupancy)
  • Extra charge for lodging in private apartment for 1 person (with private bathroom, kitchenette and terrace): depending on the size of the apartment from EUR 300 to EUR 500  per person per week (single occupancy)
  • The trip to and from La Rogaia.
  • Transfer from airports and trainstations other than Passignano sul Trasimeno to La Rogaia.
  • Transportation to the photo locations. We recommend to arrive with your own car. For those not travelling by car, or for those who do not want to drive themselves, there is a transportation service (minibus with driver) available for an additional charge of € 100 per week per person
  • Photo book
  • Extra dinners and lunches
  • Extra beverages
  • Tips and personal extras

How to get there:
Travel by car (your own/rental) is recommended! 
Nearest airports: Perugia, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Bologna/Forli. 
When arriving by train at Passignano sul Trasimeno railway station, you will be picked up for free.


Do you want to join?
Secure your spot and book NOW !

Additional extra for the Photography-Workshop:

There will be cameras and lenses made available by NIKON for a free trial. In case you are contemplating to buy yourself a new camera and would like to try it without commitment – in this seminar you can!

Participants who do not have a camera of their own and would like to use one of the NIKON cameras and lenses during this workshop: Please let us know in advance i.e. when you are signing up.