Dreamscape of Sicily - Castello Gresti or Pietrataglia
With this image I want to present you what in my opinion is one of the most beautiful places in Sicily: the Gresti or Pietratagliata castle. The castle stands on an elevated rocky ridge of arenitic nature, which for two km, in a NE-SW direction, emerges in the Gornalunga valley. In the central part, the highest spur, straddling the Canne or Gresti torrent, was used by man for its strategic position as a control and defense post. In fact, the castle constitutes an outpost or a sighting fortress for the control of a vast territory. The popular tradition knows it with the name "Castello dei Gresti", probably for its proximity to the Cozzo dei Gresti. The existing structure is probably of the Arab-Norman era, but in documents it appears for the first time in 1374, when the feud and the fort of Pietratagliata was assigned by Frederick III of Sicily, with a privilege, to Perronus de Iuenio.
When I arrived on the post I found myself in the center of Sicily, surrounded by barren hills and an expanse of thistle flowers with a bright purple color that contrasted naturally with the yellow of the grass and the orange of the castle stone.
A flock of crows welcomed me with their croaking as they flew around the keep. Above, a pair of hawks controlled the countryside and occasionally went to their nest built in a rocky inlet that serves as a base for the manor. A fox passed by me while I was preparing the shot and shortly afterwards also a black snake. Once again we find ourselves in front of a place of great charm that collects in itself both the history of this wonderful land in the middle of the Mediterranean and its splendid landscapes. Together with the castle, a south-facing star trail was filmed. The shots started during the blue hour and ended after about 5 hours and 30 minutes.
Canon 7d, Sigma 14 mm, 22 sec, iso 800, f/2.5 800 shots for the trail; f/11, 30 sec, iso 200 for the flowers at the end of twilight.
This is another view of the castle captured from a different spot of the previous image. I wanted to present the castle with the Milky Way behind. I moved positioning myself in front of a giant rock that had fallen from the hill above during the winter. The Galaxy is followed by planets Saturn and Jupiter while on the right the star Antares and Rho Ophiucus complex are setting behind the main tower.
The story of a splendid evening continues. I waited a few hours until the Milky Way went crazy vertically and I walked a small path that leads to the valley on which the Gresti castle overlooks. I made several attempts until I found the shot that I liked and that I hope you like too. From this low point the castle seems to project itself into the sky on which the galactic center of the Milky Way shines. Try to imagine the moment with me: silence, sweet and sour smells of wild herbs and vegetation that was starting to dry out. A castle that has guarded the Sicilian countryside and that has remained there since the Middle Ages. The stars that shine in the sky and slowly move towards the castle.
Canon 6d, Sigma 50 mm, 46 sec, iso 800, f/2
Sometimes you can see the magic of some shots at the same time that they are immortalized. Other times, however, you notice small details only when you look at the images on the computer monitor.
This is the case of this photograph, always taken at the Gresti castle with the aim of resuming the milky way with Saturn and Jupiter and the summer triangle in its entirety next to the rocky outcrop that cuts the valley and on which the castle was built . The street is also an important element of the composition because it metaphorically invites the observer to look towards the bastion. But this is not only the magic of this image! In fact, I only discovered after two details that embellish the shot. My shadow with the cable and the camera that discreetly shows the behind the scenes of the shot but which also tells how the moon has just risen by projecting creating these games of light and shadow. Even more amazing is the profile of a face that was drawn on the rocks to the right of the castle that seems to observe it as if it were its secular custodian!
Canon 6d, Canon 8-15mm, f/4, iso 800
To be continued...