He spent one amazing week in SO Sofitel Mauritius thanks to Dronestagram’s contest 2016 International Drone Photography! Meet Francesco Cattuto, who’s sharing his experience with us!

Francesco Cattuto, Italian aerial photographer, known on Dronestagram as fcattuto is one of our very talented dronists. He’s the winner in 2016 International Drone Photography Contest (category travel) with his stunning picture ”Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, Assisi (PG), Umbria, Italy” that was seen all over the world! Thanks to the contest and our great partner, he won amazing 1 week for two persons in beautiful SO Sofitel Mauritius in partnership with French airline, Corsair airline. Once returned back from his holiday, we wanted to know more about his travel to Mauritius. So Dronestagram interviewed Francesco with few questions.

Do you remember this amazing picture?
It’s Francesco Cattuto’s winning picture in International drone photography contest 2016!

“It was the day after Christmas of 2015, my girlfriend and I, after a lovely lunch at my parents’ home which is in the beautiful Umbria, we decided to go for a walk in Assisi. It was a foggy day, nonetheless I decided to go up in the sky to see more from above, and after the drone came out from the clouds the view was spectacular and got me completely astonished and, without breathing, I had the time to take some shots before the sun went down and the cloud got higher hiding everything.”

Interview with Francesco Cattuto

Tell us something about yourself
My name is Francesco Cattuto, I am 37, I am a software engineer and I work as consultant and project manager in Emilia Romagna where I live now, even if I was born and raised in a small town in Umbria, a green oasis in the very center of Italy, called Gualdo Tadino. A couple of year ago I decided to quit my previous corporate job and start to manage my days as self-employed giving part of my time at photography, one of my favorite passion.

How did you get into drones?
Well, I’m addicted to all geeks stuffs! As a part of my work, I keep an eye on new technologies, I can’t resist if something intrigues me! As a photographer, when I saw for the first time a photo taken by a drone with a quality and resolution comparable to a good camera I decided that was the right moment to extend my photographical point of view. I bought a Phantom 3 Professional, it was a love at first sight!

Can you tell us about your gear and drone setup?
I recently changed my phantom3Pro with a phantom4Pro. It gets a better camera with a 1-inch sensor and a wide f/2.8 aperture. It also sports a mechanical shutter that eliminate the “rolling shutter” effect. This CMOS sensor can also shoot 20mpx  RAW still images and capture up to 11  stops of dynamic range so you get better aerial footage even when your scene has complicated lighting. Absolutely stunning!

Do you remember what it was like winning the International Drone contest 2016?
It was amazing! I still remember the moment when I received the email from Dronestagram announcing the victory: I approached the car and just fell began to jump and dance of joy with my girlfriend!!

All that happened next was totally surprising, the photo has just flew virtually round the world: hundreds and hundreds of websites published the picture, interviews on newspapers, articles on magazines, contacts on social networks, galleries, collaboration on great projects to carry on. Wonderful!

How was your holiday, did you enjoy Mauritius?
Absolutely yes! SO Sofitel is a wonderful resort in the lovely south part of the beautiful island on Mauritius. We had an amazing and relaxing time: diving in beautiful spots on Flic en Flac, walking among the beautiful botanic garden in Pamplemousses, visiting lovely Chamarel with his waterfall and “seven color earths”, driving on the road lined with vast plantations of sugar cane growing side by side with pineapples and other tropical fruits… And of course, relaxing with a tropical fruit juice in a hand and a great book on other, sunbathing on the beach!


What did you like the most on the island?
It’s hard to say, but if I have to choose a place I can say “Le Morne Brabant” at the extreme southwestern tip of island. It is highlighted by an eponymous basaltic monolith with a summit 556 meters above sea level. It is largely surrounded by a lagoon and is a well known tourist attraction. I went to this place at least four times during the week, in different days and hours to find the best light and wind condition to take the picture I had in mind to do! The funny thing is that I wasn’t the only one with this idea..

One morning we were four with four drones to try to capture the same shot!

Were you flying your drone there?
Yes of course! I couldn’t travel without! There are many places that have earned a high angle… Beaches, the coral reef, the plantations of sugar cane, the botanical gardens…

I took more than 100 photos.. In these winter days in Italy I can warm up myself with some post processing to do!

Stay tuned on my pages for some pic from Mauritius in the next days!


Mauritius Island & drone rules: what are the rules to follow? How were people there reacting to drone?
Well, I found Mauritian laws very simple but at the same time very very smart:
– do not fly over people or crowds of people, respect other peoples privacy
– do not fly near military installations, airports, power plants, or any other area that could cause concern among local authorities
– fly during daylight hours and only in good weather conditions
I think that common sense should always accompany the laws in each country. Unfortunately, the legislation somewhere is still quite controversial and every day it is more difficult to use all the potential of drones.
In Mauritius it has always been enough ask permission before taking off and there were no problems!

Thank you Francesco, is there anything else that you would like to add or share?
Certainly, let me say again thank you to Dronestagr.am, National Geographic, and SO Sofitel Mauritius for the wonderful prize. It was an extraordinary experience and I hope it’s just the beginning of a photographic journey with a drone around the world. I also hope that this photo brings to know Assisi to a larger number of people, a city that I carry in my heart. If you haven’t already done so, please come and visit Assisi and the whole Umbria!

Some of other amazing Francesco Cattuto’s aerial captures

Thank you Francesco! To see more check out his profile fcattuto.