As with many photographers out there, I have long been fascinated by the exotic places and faces we see on television and magazines. Until this day, I still spend countless hours imagining myself wandering around curious spots on the world map, learning how to say Hi and Thank You in the languages of the counties I dream of visiting, even though perhaps I’ll never have a chance to use those foreign words.
I believe that I, as with many other of the followers of ROAM Magazine, am part of a generation of dreamers. We are travellers by nature, and photographers that are moved by love, art, wanderlust and with the help of low-cost airlines, can make our dreams a reality. While I can’t always pack my bags for far-flung exotic places, I believe that sometimes places a little closer to home can be explored with the same excitement – it’s all down to a matter of perspective and sensibility. With that in mind, I decided to go and explore Puglia and Basilicata, two regions in the South East of Italy. Although it was a quick trip, it turned out to be an incredible photographic experience.
I started in Bari, mostly because of the airport. It was my first contact with the atmosphere of the region, and to begin to learn more about the areas of Puglia and Basilicata and attempted to get my head around the stressful transport situation between the two regions.
Only about an hour away from Bari is Matera, and as soon as I arrived I fell in love with the place. Matera is a city which stands in front of a dramatic canyon. The old town is called Sassi di Matera, and it’s a hilly area built on calcareous rocks and shaped over caves and cliffs. When you are there, you are going up and downstairs the whole time. My biggest challenge as a photographer in a touristic city like Matera is to find things that are way more interesting than the typical visitors see. The narrow streets and the position of the sun were also a challenge.
Walking the inside of the town is a very beautiful experience, but it gets even more special when you cross the canyon and have a view of Sassi from the otherwise. From this side, you can see the whole of Matera, and get a sense of how the original caves were built. It’s simply amazing.
My next stop was Alberobello, in Puglia. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and another place which deserves a lot of attention. At first, I felt the charm of the places was somewhat spoiled by the number of tourists, but there is a reason that so many curious people go to Alberobello. The place is, indeed, very magical and unique. You only need to step away from the main street to fall in love with the architecture of the town. The Trulli are little houses made out of dry stone with conical rooves. They look like a set from a movie, and for a few extra bucks, you could consider spending the night in one.
Puglia and Basilicata are the kinds of places I imagine it would be beautiful to explore with someone by your side to share those incredible views. But even as a solo traveller, I had an amazing time, and I’d love to return in a different season to experience the locations in different weathers. If you go, make sure to get in touch with the people, explore the sceneries and, of course, take amazing pictures.
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Gabriel is a Brazilian Street and Travel Photographer. His idea is to connect himself with more people through photographic stories. He constantly documents his travels and shares it with travel magazines and content creators. You can check his work on www.cameracalling.com.