Photography in the Dolomites & Venice

DATES: 09/17/2021 - 09/27/2021
LOCATION: The Dolomites
PRICE: $3,995.00

Lester Lefkowitz is a New York-based professional photographer who has photographed in all fifty states, twenty countries, Antarctica and Puerto Rico. He has provided images to many Fortune-500 companies and most major publications, from National Geographic to Time Magazine to The New York Times.

Lester is the author of numerous books and articles on photography, and has been a consultant to both Kodak and Polaroid. He has taught workshops and lectured at many arts, educational and professional institutions, and is a very popular teacher at The International Center of Photography (ICP). From introductory classes to advanced lighting, from basic Photoshop to close-up photography, Lester has been an enthusiastic instructor to hundreds of students.

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Lester was an early adopter of digital photography, but is still pleased to assist film photographers based on his years of experience with that lovely (old) medium. His knowledge of state-of-the-art digital imaging is extensive, working with both Macs and PCs, numerous digital cameras, and with a long list of software, including Photoshop, Lightroom, and Mac Photo.

Lester is a major producer of stock photography; creating images for the largest stock photo agencies in the world. His subject matter ranges from landscapes to cityscapes, flowers to lasers, architecture to surgery.

All photos © Lester Lefkowitz

With your camera explore this stunning location in northern Italy and conclude with 4 days in Venice 

Join Lester on this new adventure in one of the most gorgeous areas of Italy.  Then finish the program with 4 days in Venice, one of the most intriguing cities in the world.

There might be unattractive places somewhere in Italy, but I sure haven’t found them yet!
Recent traveler to Italy

Just when you thought Italy couldn’t be more beautiful, welcome to the Dolomites!  Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in the Veneto region, the Dolomites are a wonderful mix of Italy, Switzerland and Austria. These mountains are a prime destination for skiers in the winter, but in the warmer months, they provide the opportunity to photograph from unending vistas and to make modest hikes among the hills and valleys, engulfed in the exquisite scenery. The trip will end with four days in Venice where you can continue your photography with Lester to include canals, reflections, teeming campos and timeless architecture.

Typical scene in the Italian Alps, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

Combine these sights and stimulations of the Dolomites with an opportunity to broaden and hone your photographic skills and vision. For a solid week-and-a-half, totally immerse yourself in this adventure, with sights that are a feast to the eye, then translate those experiences into compelling photographs with the assistance of an energetic, vastly experienced and wonderfully engaging instructor – Lester Lefkowitz.

The emphasis will be on photography.  From our private van, we’ll make many stop, scouted by Lester, along the way to leisurely photograph the glorious  landscapes and the towns that look much more like Switzerland than Italy.  Any hiking from place to place will be at a gentle pace with plenty of stops for rest, refreshment and local wine.  We’ll  also have the opportunity to take  cable cars up into the mountain passes, and Lester will show you how to make 1800  panoramas of the amazing vistas.

The glorious Dolomites, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

The goals:

  • to have a wonderful experience
  • to improve your visual and technical mastery of the film or digital medium, regardless of your current level, and
  • to create memorable images.

Because of the small group size, and opportunity (but not necessity) to interact with the instructor and each other for up to sixteen hours a day, each person will get a good deal of personal attention.

Daily excursions will allow abundant time for photography at visually and intellectually stimulating venues. On some mornings (and after dinner if you wish), there will be presentations by Lester as well as one-on-one attention to your personal photographic interests and needs. Digital photography, of course, provides the tremendous opportunity for immediate feedback, critique and sharing, greatly facilitating the learning process. Participants are strongly encouraged to bring a digital camera or iPhone/iPad and a laptop computer.

As appropriate, Lester will offer instruction in all aspects of Photoshop, Lightroom, and Mac Photo for editing, organizing, and image enhancement. If you are familiar with some other software, you are, of course, welcome to use that.

Evening town, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

Below is a tentative schedule for activities*:

  • Day #1 Bolzano: we’ll meet the group in Verona in the afternoon, then drive to Bolzano, the largest town in the Dolomites area. Check-in and dinner, and an evening walk around town.  [NOTE: there is an airport in Verona if you want to fly directly there.]
  • Day #2 Bolzano:  Cable car and train ride into mountains; scenery.  Independent lunch
  • Day #3 Bolzano:  “Flat-land” day:  market, castle, church, artisanal beer and the special museum dedicated to Ötzi, the recently discovered remains of the stone age ice man!   Lunch in town. Evening review photos after early dinner.
  • Day #4 Cortina: After breakfast leave for Cortina d’Ampezzo.  Stops along the way:  Brixen/Bressanone (lunch and a great town to photograph) and maybe also Bruneck/Brunico.  Check into hotel in Cortina.
  • Day #5 Cortina: Cable car up into Dolomites  (Moos, Versciaco), landscape, scenery.  Picnic lunch in the mountains.
  • Day #6 Cortina: “Flat land” day, maybe to Bruneck/Brunico (if we didn’t stop there on Day #4): market, artisan, museum, church, etc.  Review photos in AM or after an early dinner.
  • Day #7 Venice:  After breakfast leave Cortina for Venice.  A 2½ hour ride with stops along the way.  Arrive Venice late afternoon. Settle into pension.  Dinner and meeting with Lester.

    Venice Bridge, photo by Lester Lefkowitz 

  • Day #8 Venice:  First full day in Venice.  Lester knows all the best spots!
  • Day #9 Venice:  Second full day in Venice.  A photographer’s paradise – water, reflections, architecture, people in piazzas, etc.
  • Day #10 Venice:  Third full day in Venice, possible excursion by vaporetto to colorful Burano.  Evening exhibit of work from the Dolomites to Venice to share with class and staff.
  • Independent departure after breakfast on final day.

* Although this trip doesn’t involve strenuous hiking, if you have any mobility issues, please contact the instructor before registering.


Typical Venetian “cicchetti”, canal-side, photo by Linda Mironti

Dinners: we will have 4 dinners together in the Dolomites and 3 together in Venice.  That leaves 3 nights where you can discover restaurants on your own.  Since we don’t have our own chef, we’ll be eating in diverse neighborhood trattorie where we can experience a good cross-section of the local cuisine which in the Dolomites has a strong Austrian influence while in Venice seafood is quite common.


  • The Dolomites and Venice (10 nights) – $3,995 p/p, double occupancy

Optional single room Supplements: $750

Non-photographer partners/friends are always welcome.  Non-participant discount is $300.

Under the Bridge in Venice, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

Squisito! photo by Lester Lefkowitz


  • 3 nights at a hotel in Bolzano with ensuite bathroom, breakfast
  • 3 nights at hotel in charming Cortina with ensuite bathroom, breakfast
  • 4 nights in ex-convent, all rooms with modern bathrooms
  • In Venice, breakfast at traditional cafe
  • 7 dinners together, wine (or beer!) included
  • All local transportation for excursions, cable cars, etc.
  • Workshop tuition, daily classes and individual sessions with Lester
  • Fully escorted with driver/facilitator and instructor

Price does not include:

  • Airfare
  • Lunch
  • Independent meals and sight-seeing
  • Cable-car and museum fees
  • Workshop materials
  • Gratuities

To Register:  just click on the Sign Up Now button.  A non-refundable deposit of $500 is required to secure your spot in the workshop. Payment can be made on line with a credit card, or you can follow the instructions to send in your registration and payment by mail. Once we receive your deposit we will send you a formal Registration Confirmation with further information about the program. You will receive 2-3 other correspondences by email prior to the workshop with information about Italy, a supplies list and an electronic invoice for the balance. Final Balance is due by August 1st. Any time prior to your arrival, if you have questions about anything regarding the trip or the program, you can contact us by email or phone and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Contact us for more information: or speak to us live at 800-990-3506.

On the first day of this program we will meet in the northern Italian city of Verona.  From there we’ll drive by van up to the city of Bolzano in the South Tyrol province, known as the gateway to the Dolomites.  We will stay at a small traditional hotel, Hotel Figl, in the central piazza of the town.

Our next stop will be the picturesque town of Cortina d’ Ampezzo nestled in the valleys where we’ll spend the next 3 nights at another historic, cozy hotel, Hotel de la Poste.

Once we get to Venice, the group will stay at the Istituto Canossiano.  This is a refurbished convent that now accepts tourists.  It is on a quiet canal in the Dorsoduro area of Venice, not far from the Accademia museum.  There is a courtyard in the center with studio space for the photography class.

Courtyard at Istituto Canossiano

Typical room at Canossiano (can also be single or matrimonial beds).

This area is in northern Italy in the Veneto which is very well connected for train, plane and bus transportation. If you plan to arrive early and travel around a bit before you meet the group, you could fly into Milan, Florence or Venice and take the train to Verona.  Otherwise we recommend flying into Verona where there is also a small, easy-to-navigate airport.  We’ll meet the group in the center of town around 2pm for our drive up to Bolzano.  Specific details about where to meet will be available closer to the date of the program.

We’ll finish the workshop in Venice, so we recommend departing out of the Marco Polo airport there.  An afternoon flight will be convenient, allowing enough time to have breakfast and get to the airport calmly.

For assistance making your travel arrangements, we can recommend our travel agent, Nancy Schaffer of Travel Solutions – NRSCHAFFER@CHARTER.NET, (508)-836-0143.  She has helped many of our Il Chiostro participants over the years with her friendly, patient service.

Squisito!, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

The Dolomites are a mountain range in the Veneto area of northern Italy, not far from Venice.  These are technically the foothills of the Alps and approach the boarders of Italy, Switzerland and Austria.

This area has politically gone back and forth among these 3 countries for centuries until the present borders were set after the break up of the Astro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I.

It is a unique amalgam of all three cultures in language, food, wine, beer! and traditions.

The Dolomites are a popular destination for skiers in the winter, but in the warmer months they provide stunning pathways for hiking between the towns.  Our hikes will be kind and gentle, since the focus will be on photography.

The main town in the area is Bolzano, with smaller towns and villages like Vipiteno scattered all about.

There are gondola cable car lifts open year ‘round all over the place, for great trips up into the mountains. 

A Little History:

The South Tyrol province in Northern Italy is where German is the mother tongue of most inhabitants, and every town, river, hill and street has a different name in both languages.

Evening Village, photo by Lester Lefkowitz

Part of Austria for centuries, South Tyrol and neighboring Trentino became part of Italy as part of the spoils of World War I, making German and Ladin (a Romance language spoken by several thousand people) speakers Italian citizens overnight without their consent.

“In the 1920s, Mussolini deputized the ardent fascist Ettore Tolomei to ‘Italianize’ South Tyrol,” 

Every place was given an Italian name … using German in public places was forbidden, secret ‘catacomb’ schools were set up because the German-speaking schools had been banned and some people were even forced to change their names to Italian ones. German speakers wouldn’t be hired for most jobs.”

World War II was followed by decades of continued discrimination and sporadic acts of nationalist terrorism which cost 21 lives overall.  And though the immediate problems seemingly ended in 1972, when a second comprehensive autonomy agreement gave South Tyrol powers of self-rule far greater than anywhere else in Italy, tensions still linger in the form of fascist-inspired monuments and some of the invented Italian place names.