Home » The creative process » ARCHITECTURE ON THE ROAD
8 March 2024 •   



Travel and photography are a perfect match, and @studio_archi4's Instagram page showcases this beautifully. Michela shares her love for art, architecture, and culture through her breathtaking photographs. 

Planning a trip that balances leisure and cultural experiences can be difficult, but Michela's page provides inspiration and ideas. Moreover, she skillfully captures even the most intricate details in her photographs. Join us as we explore the insights that Michela will share through her words and images.

Villa Favorita - Parco sul mare

Q. Why do you take photographs and what does photography mean to you? 

A. For me, photography is hereditary and closely linked to travel. As a child, I had the opportunity to experiment with photography while on the road with my family. Over time, I became a photographer myself, following in my mother's footsteps. Since I first held a disposable camera, I've noticed that my observation skills have improved. Now, I have a more trained eye for my surroundings.

Q. The association between travel and photography started early for you. When you take photos, what do you focus on? Are you, like many of us, trying to capture the 'perfect' shot?

A. Light is really important in photography, especially when taking pictures of architecture or art. It's crucial to understand the lighting conditions when composing a shot: reflections, shadows, and sunlight can either enhance or obscure details. Travel photography is special because it is done in motion, to portray a motionless subject. To make sure I capture the essence of once-in-a-lifetime destinations, I just shoot without overthinking, embracing spontaneity. Digital photography gives us greater control over the final result. However, I think that capturing the 'perfect' photograph often requires a stroke of luck in seizing the moment.

Q. Do you also get to travel when that happens?

A. In reality, I'm a planner, but that's never stopped me from surprising.

Q. Do you have a destination in mind that has turned out to be a surprise for you?

A. Yes, and it is absurd because I have been ignoring it for years. I'm talking about Padova. It is ironic how we first become interested in faraway places and then discover that we are living near real jewels. The turning point came when the 14th-century cycle of paintings was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This led me to take an interest in the city as a whole and I was able to draw up a list of palaces that must be included in a visit to Padua, first and foremost the University.

San Gennaro murales - Napoli

Q. Which, not for nothing, has just turned eight hundred years old. What is not to be missed, if you have a weekend to spare?

A. The Palazzo del Bo (known simply as 'il Bo' by the inhabitants and students of the University) is one of the oldest and most evocative palaces in Padua and the seat of the University. It is made up of several buildings arranged around two main courtyards: the oldest, dating back to the 16th century, and the 20th century 'Cortile Nuovo'. To walk through these spaces is to perceive the layering of history on stone: at the same time you have access to the magnificent Aula Magna and the world's first permanent Anatomical Theatre. Then you turn around and the 20th century area takes your breath away: monumental rooms decorated by the great exponents of Italian art under the supervision of the designer Gio Ponti. I found the Scala del Sapere and the Rector's apartments exceptional.

A leisurely walk around the city, crossing squares and stopping for an aperitif, will take you to many beautiful places. The majestic church of St. Justine, the Oratory of St. George, the Basilica of St. Anthony and the adjacent Scoletta del Santo. I could go on and on, discovering a richness in this city that I had initially underestimated

Q. Organising such a weekend gives me the idea of being very rewarding! However, when we only have a few days, we have to be very careful in choosing the destination. Do you have a method for choosing them and dividing the trip into stages?

A. The first thing to do is definitely to think about where to go, based on goals and fellow travellers. Word of mouth and inspiration from stories or online help to decide. For unusual feedback, specialist magazines are also very useful. The second step is to open a map. Now, don't think I'm going to roll out ancient scrolls, maps will do just fine, also because the aim is to calculate the timing. Knowing what to do and what to expect next, but especially knowing how much time separates one stage from the next, allows you to enjoy the moment. My research usually ends with the discovery of curiosities: experiences, monuments, buildings or whole villages that are not very common and are waiting for their turn to come into play and amaze. Guaranteed, the surprise is just around the corner.

Q. I see you as very curious, and this is also evident in the photos you share: a real travel journal. On your travels, have you ever found a building that was difficult to photograph?

A. Gothic cathedrals.

Q. A very straightforward answer! Maybe the amount of detail makes it hard to capture in photographs?

A. Actually, the most complex thing is where they are located. Very often, cathedrals built between the 1200s and 1500s are set like jewels in the city center. For this reason, the only framing you can use is wide-angle from below, so that you can only see the sky and the spires (if there are any). Each photograph is a communication of the here and now and the layering of the years. The construction sites of these huge monuments took years. The neighboring buildings clung to the building under construction in a kind of embrace. I am thinking of the Cathedral of St Vitus in Prague or the Cathedral of Naples. Even Notre Dame in Paris was surrounded by houses and palaces, at least until the 19th century. This is not the case with monuments built in the modern era. The question has been raised as to how a work is perceived and how it relates to its surroundings.

Cipro - Zaha Hadid

Q. Finally, I can only ask for your advice. What destination would you suggest for someone who wants to combine culture and relax?

A. I was particularly fascinated by one Italian region: Abruzzo. I found it interesting because it satisfies the desire for relaxation, with wonderful beaches and intense but beautiful hiking trails. But it also has a rich historical and cultural background to discover, or rather rediscover. In addition, the food and wine aspect, combined with the warm hospitality of the people, made it one of the best trips I have made in years.

I would have hours of conversations with Michela about the places she has visited, because I have the feeling that I can experience them a bit myself. And in a way, I can: her 'carpe diem' photographs, the combination of awareness and randomness, got us going with her. The opportunity to travel allows us to learn and takes us out of our comfort zone. So the choice to photograph architecture is a choice to tell not only your own story, but the story behind the destination of the journey. Architecture is a story of people and events, of styles and habits. And sometimes the most unexpected surprise is right behind your home.

So why not hit the road?

I'm waiting for you to tell me what the guidebooks don't, to tell me about the most beautiful buildings in the area where you live or the unforgettable experiences you've had by chance. You can write here or tag me or Michela in Instagram stories. Let's share some beauty!


La Vita Splendida - by Tiziano Ferro

Yellow - by Coldplay

I Will Find You - by Audiomachine, Greatest Hits album 2022

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I am Lisa, architect, fantasy addicted and short story writer. Together we'll create a place to live at your own speed, where you can gather with your loved ones and write your own story.

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