Bella Toscana is a work in progress, aiming to capture the culture, lifestyle and memories of the Italians who live and work in this beautiful region of Italy. Samuel Webster is joined by Alessia Clusini, an art director born and raised in Tuscany. Together, they have defined the vision of Bella Toscana, to capture the authentic side of an area which people over the world have seen in brochures year after year.

“We have spent our time exploring what I call the “B-Side of the postcard.” We ate in small, local restaurants. We photographed towns which aren’t on the official tourist maps. By night, we stayed with friends and family and shared food, wine and the value of heritage. By day, we met with representatives of Italian excellence, such as the Pinacoteca di Brera, Museo di Ferragamo and the Archivio Diaristico Nazionale. By combining Samuel’s artistic vision with my local knowledge, we have tried to create something far more valuable than the “glossy postcard view” of Italy. We have made memories instead.” – Alessia Clusini

Samuel’s photography has long focused in portraits, stories about real people, while Alessia’s focus lies in local, sustainable manufacture and Italian lifestyle. Alessia is also managing all social media for the duration of the project while Samuel creates in other forms such as poetry and video.

The photos which appear below are obviously taken from across Italy, not just Tuscany, but they represent the entire period set aside for the project including time in Milan, Venice, and Rome.

To follow the progress in realtime, check out the Facebook pages of Samuel Webster or Bella,
or tweet @wiredjazz (Samuel) or @myluvbella (Alessia). Alessia’s blog is also available here.

Special mention must be made of Walks of Italy, who have come onboard as the sponsors of the Bella Toscana series.

NOTE: The photography for Bella Toscana is currently absent from this page, as it is being curated for the release of the book. As the project expanded in 2012, and Samuel was able to spend more time in Italy after the project’s completion, it is highly likely that the project will be re-titled to include some areas outside of Tuscany, and include portraits which feature specific Italians amongst the beautiful landscape the world has grown to love. Stay tuned!

Videos from the Bella Toscana project 

CAFFE FREDDO in TRIENALLE, MILANO, 21 July 2012

FIRST NIGHT AT IL FONTANARO, 2 August 2012

 LA FONDAZIONE ARCHIVIO DIARISTICO NAZIONALE, 21 August 2012

PALIO DEI LUMI in PIEVE SANTO STEFANO, 9 September 2012

 MUSEO DI FERRAGAMO, FIRENZE, 27 September 2012

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