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  Field Notes From
Ancient Italy

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Ancient Italy On AssignmentArrows

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From Photographer

O. Louis Mazzatenta

Ancient Italy On Assignment

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From Author

Erla Zwingle

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Bronwyn Barnes (top) and O. Louis Mazzatenta


Ancient Italy On Assignment Photographer Ancient Italy On Assignment Photographer
Ancient Italy

Field Notes From Photographer
O. Louis Mazzatenta

Best Worst Quirkiest

   The homemade pastas, the cheeses, the sausages, and the wines were wonderful. Desserts were awesome too.  I kept e-mailing my photo editor, Chris Scaptura, things like "I wish you were here because I had the most wonderful dinner last night," and I'd describe the menu in detail. Then he would reply and describe in detail how his Italian grandmother used to make the dishes. Oh yes, we also exchanged e-mails concerning the photo coverage too.

   During a race called the Corsa dei Ceri in the Umbrian town of Gubbio, I was caught up in a mass of people pressing through a stone archway that constricted the narrow street. I felt like I might be crushed to death, but I finally battled my way to the edge of the crowd where I could catch my breath. My assistant actually got carried off her feet, and the strobe attachment on her camera was destroyed.

   At the feast of Sant' Antonio Abate in Novoli, the organizers were getting ready to start a fireworks show above a massive pyre of grapevines when a booming voice on a loudspeaker announced to the crowd, "We have a National Geographic photographer with us tonight."  I'd been trying to keep a low profile, but suddenly the beam of a huge spotlight landed on me. A video camera captured me photographing on a rooftop and my image appeared on a large screen suspended above the crowd. I waved to the thousands of people below me, but I really just wanted to crawl into a hole.


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