Exploring Sicily – 2022 

The Aeolian Islands – The Sicilian Lifestyle

Salina, October 23-29  2022 

Living on an island puts its inhabitants in a different world, where daily habits are different from the ones on the mainland. Moreover living on a group of islands, one next to each other, makes this condition even stronger. For this reason we have thought of the workshop Islands, which will take place in the Aeolian Islands, North-East of Sicily.

Our purpose is to meet people who live here all year round, during a season, which is still far from the tourist and VIP invasions, typical of the summer. Based in one of the main islands, we will move everyday, with public and private transport, ferries and boats, exploring Salina and reaching the other islands of the archipelago, to photograph their hearts and their people.

It will be a peculiar workshop, where the daily schedule will be decided by the weather and the tides…

We may get stuck on an island for a night, take walks to the top of the Stromboli volcano (depending on its “activity”!) or  go with the fishermen in the early morning.

Come prepared for a workshop which will give you strong emotions!

We will give you more information about accommodation and transport shortly.

We will lodge in a hotel in Salina, we have two options so far, and we would like to talk with you about the options.


You often talk of The Spirit of a Place.

It’s some sort of magic that we connect to some places we have visited.

The one that makes you feel melancholia, or better, as the Portuguese say, “saudade” for a place when you have to leave it. What is it?

Why some places have a special place in our hearts?

I have been traveling, for work and pleasure, in Sicily for many years. And got to the conclusion that is in its villages, hidden from the mass tourism, that you find the real soul of Sicily.

The fascination of small things.

I call it Sicilian minimalism. You find it everywhere. Clothes hanging to dry outside a home. A cactus plant on a balcony. Red peppers roasting on an improvised barbecue. And then, around the corner, the majesty of a baroque church, a liberty-style palazzo, a Greek theatre.

In Sicily there is a continuous contrast…everyday there is something new to discover.

And the people. So much has been written about this, the fact that there is a big mix of different cultures: Greeks, Arabs, Normans…one think that always surprises me about the Sicilians is that they have a child-like enthusiasm, always listen to your stories with surprise, while they start telling their own…

During this week, we will try to translate these feeling into photographs, to learn how to capture the spirit of this place with our camera, and create strong images to use in our portfolio or our blog.

Show the other what an incredible place this is.

To do this, I have invited Stefano Butturini to be our leader.

He is also great lover of the south of Italy, especially Sicily.


“I’m studying to become Sicilian”, is a bizarre sentence I’ve heard from a lawyer originally coming from north-west Italy, one of the first time traveling to the Aeolian Islands. Throughout the years of countless visits and a change of residence to these magic islands, that sentence has become my motto too. Sicily is not only the biggest Italian island, homeland of literary men, of an immense cultural and natural heritage, land of the street-food, of myths and legends. It is also, in a way, the mother of her inner and wilder islands, During the workshop we will discover and explore, secluded places and a rough lifestyle.
Let yourself be inspired by instinct for a week and discover these magic islands.”


Born in Brescia,after law school I moved abroad, working in the hospitality industry. Mediterranean Sea,Indian Ocean and West Indies. Mostly islands…I’m attracted by them, I’m curious to investigate their enclosed space, the isolation from the mainland and the relationships among islanders.

I love documenting it and on the other side I realize shooting for hotels, restaurants, magazines, tourism promotion and small realities in harmony with nature.


VENUE – Salina, Aeolian Islands, Sicily

LODGING & MEALS  see  info on Summer workshops




© Giovanni Gastel


My Collaborations include:
Costa Family Foundation – Italy/Uganda

Healing Hotels of the World – Germany Emerald Cove Project – Antigua & Barbuda

Leading Hotel La Perla – Corvara – Alta Badia Posta Marcucci – Bagno Vignoni – Val d’Orcia Hotel Signum – Salina – Isole Eolie
Shalai – Linguaglossa – Sicilia

Bvlgari Hotel – Milano
Relais & Chateaux Villa Crespi – Lago d’Orta

La Stüa de Michil – Corvara – Alta Badia Ristorante Signum – Salina – Isole Eolie Balice – Milazzo
Ristorante M o S – Desenzano d/g

21 Bistrot – Firenze
Ristorante Antonino Cannavacciuolo – Lago d’Orta Miramonti l’Altro – Brescia


Celeste Prize Invisible Dog Art Center – Brooklyn – New York 2011 Donkey Art Prize – Milano 2012
Biennale di Filicudi – Aeolian Islands 2010-12-14-16-18-2020

Publications on:

Terre di Mezzo – Italy


Antigua&Barbuda Treasure Islands Guides – West Indies
OTIE Observatory on Tourism for Islands Economy – Aeolian Islands

Paper Magazines

D Repubblica
7 Corriere della Sera

Gambero Rosso


WORKSHOP DATES October 23-29, 2022
WHERE Aeolian Islands,  Sicily, Italy