Sometimes I am not sure if I should take a photograph of something or not. By concentrating on the camera (or phone nowadays) you tend to take your mind away from the moment that you are trying to capture. How many photos have you seen where people look as if they are gritting their teeth, at the tedium of having to stay still and “say cheese” for as long as it takes for the photographer to get his shot right! At the same time, you long to be able to capture a special moment in time, to look back on the event some day in the future and smile at the sweet memories recorded there.


On our recent holiday in beautiful Baratti Bay we drove to Popolonia Alta to enjoy the sunset. Popolonia is a very lovely town on a hill overlooking the sea, where the archaeological evidence points to there having been settlements that date back to Etruscan times. The Romans built temples over the Etruscan ruins and later in medieval times, a stunning castle was erected in this place that guaranteed a perfect lookout spot along the coastline.

Baratti Bay viewed from above, Popolonia Alta archeaological site and castle

That evening it was full of tourists all wanting to capture the very instant when the sun would touch the sea, but as we wandered around we found places where we had our own, uninterrupted views and, slowly, the magic of the evening began to settle over us all.


Just look how the castle  walls change colour as the sun burnishes it.

We laughed a lot, teasing each other about the sailing we had done that day, racing each other in small sailing boats and watching cormorants fishing from the rocks close to Baratti. We snapped some photos, which I love even if the quality is not too good, because the mood is exactly right. The light was just amaxing, so warm and uplifting.


Then we moved closer to the cliff edge and fell silent as we watched the sun slip gently through the sky to finally touch the waves. I found myself holding my breath then. As always, when the sun is such a fiery ball sliding into the sea, I was surprised not to hear a hiss of steam as it melted into the water.


I did not take any photos myself, I left that to Guido and James. So I will have the best of both worlds this time – my own memories of the evening etched into my mind’s inner eye and the images that my men recorded for us.


Photos by James Parronchi