Paesaggi d’Abruzzo – a great community of photography and Abruzzo lovers
Today I want to share with you readers a precious, but not-so-well-kept secret. In fact, I want to introduce you to “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” (Abruzzo landscapes), a community of 100k people and counting from all over the world, united by one thing: a love for Abruzzo, its stunning nature, towns and villages, flora and fauna and last but not least its people. Amateur and professional photographers contribute pictures to the community for free, just for the pleasure of sharing beautiful images of our land, and of course to see their work recognised by a worldwide audience. The “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” fanbase counts followers in more than 20 countries all over the world!
Paesaggi d’Abruzzo lives on a Facebook page (I recommend you hit “Like” for an endless stream of high-quality images amongst the bad news and gossip on your Facebook feeds), a Twitter account, Flickr groups, YouTube channel and a website. The project was started over 5 years ago by my fellow Abruzzese Alessandro Di Nisio, from Chieti. Like me, he lives elsewhere (in Bologna, Northern Italy) but is in love with Abruzzo; together with his brother Fabio who is also a programmer, they have created and grown an online community which has recently reached over 100k Facebook fans simply by word of mouth- no Facebook advertising, pesky e-mail spam or other paid for tactics.
By day, I am a digital strategist and social media project manager and I can tell you this is an incredible result! The secret lies of course in the founders’passion and ability in engaging the community, but also by the true passion of every old and new followers for Abruzzo. I have shared images from “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” with my Facebook friends countless times- seen through the eyes and the lenses of very talented photographers, the majesty of our mountains, the colours of the sea, the faces of Abruzzo people are even more stunning and I am proud to share them with the world.
As an expat, I am especially fond of initiatives like Paesaggi d’Abruzzo because they keep me linked to my motherland. There are thousands of first, second and third generation Abruzzo people whose families moved to North and South America, Australia and Norther Europe over the past decades who are now re-discovering their cultural roots through social media. I will always remember the example of a picture of “calcionetti” (an Abruzzese filled biscuit) posted on the “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” Facebook page, which provoked many heartfelt reactions from fans including a moving letter in Spanish from a resident of Buenos Aires, second generation Italian, who said that the picture had brought back her only memory of her long gone Italian mother.
Paesaggi d’Abruzzo – beyond the pictures, the people
“Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” has also become an active hub for events and projects aiming at promoting Abruzzo, its food and wine, cultural traditions and activities. Just yesterday, I joined the “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” friends at a seminar and party for their fifth birthday. Hosted in Pescara within the Pescara Jazz Festival series and sponsored by Cantina Tollo, it was also a chance to celebrate an increbile year 2013 for “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” and its community.
Just a few examples of the activities realised in partnerhip with local businesses, NGOs and cultural associations:
- A photo contest about Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, in partnership with the Chieti Chamber of Commerce: over 140 photographers enrolled to shoot in wineries throughout Abruzzo and celebrate the art and science of winemaking. The winning pictures were absolutely incredible, see an example below
- A special train ride on the “Italian Trans-Siberian” line, in partnership with Transita Onlus, a local NGO. This deserves a separate post and I hope to write about it soon- to cut it short, the train line between Sulmona in Abruzzo and Isernia in the nearby Molise region is dubbed the “Italian Trans-Siberian” due to the altitude of the line on sea level, the rugged beauty of the landscapes and the remoteness of the villages it touches. It truly is a spectacular ride. Unfortunately, the line was closed to connercial service in 2012 by Trenitalia, the national train company, as “unprofitable”; however, local grassroots groups like Transita are pushing for its preservation and reopening, even just for touristic purposes.
In Spring 2013, “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” and Transita organised the first special train on the “Abruzzo Trans-Siberian” line; over 250 people – photographers, food and travel bloggers, locals and visitors alike – rode from one end of the line to the other and back, stopping to enjoy typical food, folk dances and a piano concert in the spectaular archeological area of the Sannite Amphitheatre in Molise. It goes without saying, with so many camera junkies on board, the photographic reportage from the day is quite impressive- you can see some of it here and if you understand some Italian there is also a great video.Transita regularly organises special trains on the “Abruzzo Trans-Siberian” so check their websites – I will be going very soon!
- The “Let’s Blog Abruzzo” blogging workshop in Santo Stefano di Sessanio, to which I was lucky enough to take part in june 2013. The founders of Paesaggi d’Abruzzo spoke in an interesting workshop about social media and tourism promotion and how really “an image is worth more than a thousand words”.
In short, “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” is not just a gallery of pretty Abruzzo pictures; there are real people behind the numbers, and its community is turning into a treasure trove of energies and passion aimed at promoting our region – I am proud of being a friend and supporter and invite you readers to follow them as well and look out for future events.
If you live in Abruzzo or have visited the region and have some great pictures to share, you can sumbit them for publication to the “Paesaggi d’Abruzzo” Facebook page (T&Cs apply). Hope to see you there soon!