I had been wanting to organise a trip along the famous Costa dei Trabocchi in the Abruzzo region for a while, and, seeing as my new Manfrotto Off road kit had arrived – consisting of an ultralight tripod and multi-purpose trekking poles – I started planning my solitary photography excursion straight away.
Abruzzo is especially famous for its National Parks and for its mountain peaks, the highest in all of the Apennines; but it is also a beautiful coastal region, with many miles of coastline rich with very varied and breathtaking landscapes.
The province of Chieti boasts beautiful coves, headlands and tall cliffs, making it a unique landscape.
This piece of coastline, stretching from Ortona to Vasto, is known as the ‘Costa dei Trabocchi’, named after the countless ‘trabocchi’ dotted along the shore.
A ‘trabocco’ is an age-old fishing construction, built mainly in Aleppo pine wood, from which extend two or more long arms, a few metres above the water, which form the support for a huge fishing net, known as a ‘trabocchetto’ (snare or trap).
Its origins are undocumented, though some academics claim that the invention was imported by the Phoenicians.
Gabriele d’Annunzio, who bought a villa between San Vito and Fossacesia in 1899, thus described the Trabocchi:
“The machine seemed to live of its own harmony, to have an air and an effigy of body and soul.”
I arrive in San Vito, in the Chieti region, when the sun is still high in the sky. Looking out over the sea, I realise immediately that the area is both vast and very beautiful. With my rucksack on my back and my Manfrotto trekking poles in my hands, I set off to explore.
I’m really curious and can’t wait to try out the trekking pole monopod system, which will allow me to explore the area with my Reflex always ready to take a shot.
I have to say, it is an ingenious system, and really practical, especially for those who like to combine outdoor excursions with their passion for photography.
Once I get to the first trabocco, I take the opportunity to try out my new ultralight tripod too…
…and I take my first photo…
I take lots more pictures but the clear sky is certainly not ideal for producing a great image. I hope that I’ll see a few clouds before sundown.
In the meantime, I come across a stream flowing into the sea; the crystal-clear water and the gurgling coming from within the woodland arouse my curiosity and so I decide to venture into the scrub, following the stream inland.
Whilst I’m exploring the area, at a certain point, a blackcap lands on a branch just a few feet away, unaware of my presence. And it is thanks to my Reflex mounted on the trekking pole that I am able to capture this splendid creature.
Fortunately, when dusk finally arrives, a few clouds have gathered.
By the time evening falls, I haven’t really got the results I hoped for but there you go… unfortunately, you can’t programme the weather.
However, I decide to spend the night here, in the hope of having a bit more luck at dawn and maybe trying a few night-time shots…
…dawn is coming…
When day breaks, there’s nothing left to do but head home, taking with me some wonderful memories of this amazing place; only by visiting this piece of coastline can you understand why a poet such as d’Annunzio chose to spend his most intimate and romantic moments here….
Once again, I am very happy with the Manfrotto equipment: the Off Road tripod, which is truly incredibly lightweight, practical and very stable, and the trekking poles that can be transformed into a monopod and without which I could never have captured the blackcap!
I was born in Grugliasco, in the province of Turin, in 1963. I love to photograph landscapes and unspoilt places and I prefer night-time photography. I work in partnership with various photo agencies, both in Italy and abroad, and I organise photography trips in Northern Europe. Please visit my Gallery on the website www.frpix.com.
Some of my work has been published by National Geographic and other similar magazines.