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Return to Tuscany

Magic in the Making

When Petter Hegre produced the Villa Mangiacane 2006 Calendar we had no idea it was going to be so popular. We are always trying to break new ground at Hegre-Art, but the call of the past can be just like a magnet that draws you back to retrace your footsteps.

AT THE VILLA MANGIACANE, every wall and arch, every spire and cupola breathes charm and sensuality, the carvings and ornamentation the ultimate contrast with the pure lines and perfect sculptures of today's new nude, that rare blend of the mediaeval and ultra-modern.

After the usual round of castings, Hegre chose models from Milan, Marseille and Prague and set out for what would be the second of three sessions he required to complete the 2007 calendar.

The Villa Mangiacane sits among the vineyards of the Arno Valley in the heart of Tuscany's Chianti region. In the distance you can see like a pastel drawing the city of Florence, the Dome of the Cathedral and Giottos Bell Tower looming above the modern buildings.

The atmosphere of intrigue at this 15th century grand palazzo is inspired no doubt by the ghost of Niccolo Machiavelli. It was here, that he is thought to have written his masterpiece The Prince, a slender volume the rich and powerful are still reading 400 years later.

Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate

Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate

Federica comes from a small town outside Milan and arrived dressed to kill in Italian designer wear; she works in the fashion houses and wouldn't be seen dead in anything else. The weather couldn't make up its mind what it was trying to achieve: sun and rain, the cloudy sky clearing suddenly, then splitting apart once more by thunder and lightning.

It was one of those days when I didn’t have much choice but to be accurate and patient with exposure and colour balance as it kept changing. It was a real hassle and while it screwed up the workflow, the weather was bracing and Federica in her Italian way did her best to be professional and cooperative.

I say in her Italian way because Italian girls are special. At least they believe they are and, in Federica's case, you can see her point. At the age of 29, she seems to have discovered the secret of eternal youth, tall, slender, with fairy-tale blonde hair, and eyes that sparkle like pools of water reflecting the setting sun. Or with today's weather, the shifting clouds.

Federica shares a flat with her mother, in fact she admits she's something of a mummy's girl, and made a point of expressing her disdain for immature men. "What on earth could they possibly offer?" Too right, I said, and acted like really mature. So, ever since she grew up, Federica has only dated men over 40. Her present boyfriend is 49. Just right for her mum, I was thinking, but I didn't want to sound immature and didn't say so.

With the wind blowing up a storm, she bravely stripped off and then for some reason I couldn't understand, imitated the weather by bursting into tears. She cried for mama (perfectly true!) when I asked her to pose with the stone dog that stands proudly on top of one of the entrance pillars to the villa. We got through that. Federica put on a brave show below a freezing cold fountain and, when her perfect flesh was completely covered in goose bumps (chicken skin we say up at the North Pole) she climbed an ancient olive tree and warmed up riding a quad bike. Naked, naturally.

So far so good and lets hope tomorrow is even better!

More to come…

Petter

Travel Day Tags

Photos | Day One Click an Image to Enlarge

NB! Please note that images and films presented here are not representative of the technical quality
of Hegre-Art.com. Travel photos and film clips are made with a "point and shoot" compact camera only.
Photo 1 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 2 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 3 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 4 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 5 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 6 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 7 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate Photo 8 of Return to Tuscany, Eternal Youth & A Bracing Climate
Straddling the World

Straddling the World

At 162cm, 42kg and with caramel ice cream eyes, Darine straddles two worlds. Her mother is from Egypt, her father came originally from Tunis, but having been born in France, Darine has all the qualities of French chic with the added spice of the exotic lands beyond Europe.

Sometimes I puzzle over what it means to be 'interesting' – everyone wants to be interesting – and have reached the conclusion that being interesting is being interested in everything. Darine is like that. She loves photography, travelling and oriental dance. If I'm not having fun doing what I'm doing, she told me, then I move on and do something else. Sounds interesting enough to me.

I have forgotten just about all the French I learned 20 years ago at school but as Darine didn't speak a word of English (or Norwegian) it started to come back to me as we worked. Oh, yeah, Darine smokes like a chimney, she loves chocolate, she's dying to do a movie with Jonny Depp (I may have heard that somewhere before) and thanks to the kind attentions of the villa masseuse, she looks fabulous dressed in grapes.

Petter

Travel Day Tags

Photos | Day Two Click an Image to Enlarge

NB! Please note that images and films presented here are not representative of the technical quality
of Hegre-Art.com. Travel photos and film clips are made with a "point and shoot" compact camera only.
Photo 1 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 2 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 3 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 4 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 5 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 6 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 7 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 8 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 9 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World Photo 10 of Return to Tuscany, Straddling the World
Stuck in the Mud

Stuck in the Mud

After a long night of heavy rains and more than a few glasses of Chianti, the sun came out and put a gloss on the Tuscan countryside. My little frencheuse chocolate model was on her way back to Paris and, when Hana arrived from Prague, I had a feeling that on this, my last day at the Villa Mangiacane for this session, I was going to get some classic shots in the camera.

We spent half the day in the Turkish bath with its sauna and long narrow dip pool. The conditions are hard on the equipment, but I knew from working with Hana before it would be lots of fun. She got thoroughly greased up on extra virgin olive oil, and once she was coated in sweat from the sauna you get that shiny, freshly-polished look that makes bare flesh look like diamonds.

Hana works in cabaret. She has the long slender body of a dancer. Slipping naked around the villa's Nadushska Spa she provided the rest of the guests with the best floor show they'd ever seen. We continued the performance out at the pool with three laughing Buddhas for company (see today's photos). At Mangiacane there are three pools, two outside and one indoor, and during the course of the day we tried them all. Being high season, the estate was full of people and everyone seemed to appreciate our creative efforts.

Following the water theme, we ended up beside a lake and, what with all the rain the last few days, the whole area was inundated. Wearing nothing but rubber boots, Hanna got stuck in the mud and her efforts to try and get out provided a visual feast. All captured on camera, of course.

The 3 day session is over. It was a memorable journey with lots of visuals to prove it. Time now to return to the editing desk...and see if we have enough material to match the calendar we did last year.

Petter

Travel Day Tags

Photos | Day Three Click an Image to Enlarge

NB! Please note that images and films presented here are not representative of the technical quality
of Hegre-Art.com. Travel photos and film clips are made with a "point and shoot" compact camera only.
Photo 1 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud Photo 2 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud Photo 3 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud Photo 4 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud Photo 5 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud Photo 6 of Return to Tuscany, Stuck in the Mud

Comments

I live here: Chianti Countryside
Dear Petter, you make me really happy when I discover your italian photos and overall this location just behind my home! Next time you'll be here could you send me an email to offer me the honour to meet you? I'm a tuscanian photographer inspired from your perfect way to perceive nude photography. I hope to see you soon in Tuscany.
I idmire how you make me feel that I'm in the same place you are
awesome sets and sceneries!
awesome sets and sceneries. cant wait to see these galleries online! great job petter and thanks for sharing it with us again.. Jason - Holland
Toscana
What a place!