Frank Zampetti


by Franco Zampetti

Iran_Franco Zampetti travel diaryI have been interested in zenithal photography of architectural subjects for many years, in parallel with the activity of architect that I have been exercising since 1980 in Florence, the city where I chose to live for the love of art and architecture of the past.

The idea and the contemporary hope of a trip to Iran was born when I verified the first results of the zenith photo camera that I made twelve years ago; in fact, the zenithal technique allows to synthesize both the planimetric and the perspective view of the space from a single central point.

It is a one-of-a-kind device that allows you to produce photographs free of geometric distortions and with a wider overall view than you could observe with the naked eye; the circular format on a square base is its original feature; all the photos accompanying these short travel notes were taken with this camera.

I knew briefly the most important and prestigious examples of Persian architecture and the desire to be able to reproduce them through the zenithal vision has grown over the years until, by virtue of a series of knowledge and circumstances, I have decided to organize a trip specifically for this purpose.

Not having had the opportunity to visit Iran previously, I started to find out about the access modalities, the logistics necessary to travel and stay, the general and detailed economic conditions, the climate, the usable languages, the accessibility to web services and so on.

Then I compiled a list of places to photograph and assumed information for their accessibility and any particular conditions to be respected; subsequently I identified the best period in terms of climate, temperature and logistics in the second half of April 2019.

Basically I "designed" a trip in total autonomy at best, immediately discarding the hypothesis of a group trip organized by an agency, given the specific needs of the photographic purpose that I had set for myself and that being part of a group of tourists I could not satisfy.

This was only possible thanks to Iranian friends and fellow architects, with the support of which it was easy to plan and implement what I had in mind.

I visited Tehran, an obligatory stage of arrival and return to Italy, then Qazvin for two days, Soltaniyeh and fleeting Zanjan, Esfahan for three days, then one day in Yazd (too little!), Finally Shiraz for almost three days with also a visit to Persepolis and surroundings.

In the total of 11 days in Iran I visited and photographed some active mosques, various mosques used as a museum, an Armenian Christian cathedral, various palaces, numerous bazaars, some former caravanserais, two hammams and various other historical architectures; in total I made 40 zenith photos, of which the most significant are attached here and overall they are all visible on my site at the following link: Iran.

The experience of this trip to Iran was undoubtedly rewarding and of great satisfaction, in addition to the splendid architecture I was impressed by the friendliness of the Iranians, always available to willingly give information and to browse around my particular photographic equipment and the zenith photos that I often showed them in my tablet; I really appreciated the convenience of travel by VIP bus, even for long night journeys, the friendly welcome of the hoteliers and, last but not least, a cuisine full of particularities and characterized by exotic and genuine flavors.

I returned to Italy with the firm intention of making another trip to Iran, hopefully in the future, a land of millenary culture whose stratifications are often still clearly visible and of great charm.


To prepare for the new journey I began to deepen the study of the complex history of Persia from its origins, I realized that it is an essential support to be able to fully enjoy a varied and culturally rich country like Iran.


Frank Zampetti

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