Borgo di Castelnuovo

When my friend Alessandro showed me this video for the first time, I could not but think of Thomas. Grey’s verses: ‘Full many a gem of purest ray serene/The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear:/Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,/And waste its sweetness on the desert air’.

If it weren’t for Alessandro, I would have never known about this hidden treasure of our Province (the Province of Pesaro and Urbino):  Borgo di Castelnuovo – a rural village upon the Ventena valley, where the Province of Pesaro and Urbino borders with that of Rimini, and where ‘time’ is a meaningless word.

The village, dating back to the 11th century, is abandoned. However this video succeeds in capturing the ‘genius loci’, the soul of the place, and when I watched it for the first time I had a definite sensation of being back home. It was more than a ‘déjà-vu’: it was, again, the feeling of belonging there somehow (I have never been there and before Alessandro showed me his video I had never heard of the place).

Is it the peaceful feeling deriving from the combination of timeless ruins, green hills and meditative music? Is it – I asked to myself – because my mother grew up in the country-side and the video brought back distant memories of my childhood?

Then, all of a sudden, I understood where the blissful feeling came from: a unique video-making technique making me see the world as a bird does.

Starting from Icarus onwards, one of man’s strongest desires has always been that of flying. I myself love flying on ariplanes (even though after a bad landing in Chicago some twenty years ago, I love it and fear it in the same time!). However, videos shooted from airplanes, make you feel – indeed – as if you were on an airplane.

The technique used in this video gave me the sensation of being like a bird or – even better – a free flying me.

This is why I asked Alessandro to introduce me to his world. And I asked him if he would accept being interviewed for my blog. He did. So, thank you Alessandro!

Simona: Watching your video gave me the feeling of flying as a bird flies, heading home in a blissful state of mind. Can you please explain to us which is the technique you use and the tools you need to shoot this kind of videos?

Alessandro: Ciao Simona. First of all I would like to thank you for your kind hospitality in your beautiful and interesting blog.

To shoot my aerial videos I use different types of RC (Radio Controlled) model aircrafts: normally I use a 2 metres wingspan airplane on which I assemble a video camera capable of making HD (High Definition) movies. This model airplane is very useful when I have to take video from a high altitude.

When I have to shoot houses, monuments, small objects, or when the take off and landing area is quite narrow, I use RC helicopters (also called drones).

I assemble a special filter on the camera to have a better quality and smoothness and I make some “after-production” improvement to stabilize the video.

Simona: When did you start flying air-models?

Alessandro: I began to fly my first RC airplane at about 13. It seems quite a long time ago (it is indeed!!) and RC model airplanes were very different from now: made of light wood (balsa) instead of light plastic material (depron); stroke engines were noisy while now the new electric motors allow us to fly almost in a silent way. Light video cameras allow to use smaller models and technologies as GPS helps to keep more stable flights.

What is unchanged is the feeling of the operator: to have better video technologies helps but the best shoots are made when the pilot is also photographer, modeler and can interpret the “mood” of the subject. No technology can ever help with that.

Simona: I guess that flying drones in remote natural environments, brings along the possibility of being alone with yourself. How much is this aspect important to you?

Alessandro: My first RC model was a glider: once it reached the cruise altitude the engine shut off leaving you in the beautiful silence of nature. It’s very relaxing to breathe this moment of peacefulness alone with yourself. To pilot these models sometimes requires big concentration that helps to “clean” your mind from big and small problems.

When I work I prefer to be alone as people generally make you lots of questions distracting you from good piloting and eventually bringing to a crash or a bad movie (maybe I should put a warning beside me:  “it is forbidden to talk to the pilot!”)

Simona: How did you find out about Castelnuovo Village?

Alessandro: Last year I advertised my services of aerial videos in my website. One morning I found an email from a guy asking me more details. His purpose was to show the abandoned condition of the village. In particular he wanted to have a “bird view” to better understand the damages of the roofs. What better solution to use drones to shoot it?

I hope you enjoyed not only the video but could “feel” the sense of beauty and loneliness that I tried to bring in foreground.

Simona: I certainly enjoyed the video and got carried to Borgo di Castelnuovo with my imagination! Thank you, Alessandro, for sharing your experience with us here at Where Lemons Blossom. And I am looking forward to your next video!

Alessandro: Thank you. I’ll keep you updated!

10 comments

  1. Fascinating! Brilliant video, innovative way of creating it, and interesting post….now I know why you liked my post on. Tyneham…we share a liking for abandoned places…I’m off to press the ‘follow’ button!

  2. Grazie mille per questo video, è impressionante e bellissimo! Bravi tutti e due!
    Fa venir voglia di legare telefonini ad elicotteri giocattolo e tentare l’esperimento.
    E un grosso grazie per la visita al mio blog!

    • Grazie a te per le belle parole. Questa sera vedrò Alessandro e gli riferirò senz’altro del tuo entusiastico commento. E se mai dovessi tentare l’avventura delle riprese aeree, credo che Alessandro sarà lieto di condividere con te qualche utile ‘segreto’. Continuerò a seguirti con piacere!

  3. Beautiful post! the place i live seems abandoned too….but still…so beautiful…Only the persons coming from outside seem to appreciate it…let’s do something…let’s do MORE for saving important pieces of our history…our culture….

  4. I’m totally with you!
    That is exactly the idea of my blog: to get people closer to Italy’s hidden treasures.
    To share beauty with each other, preserving beauty from oblivion.
    Sharing beauty throughout the world.
    What a challenging aim!

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