ever been to Italy?

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by danlidon, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. danlidon

    danlidon Member

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    I'll be taking a trip to Italy in the end of February. I'll be going to Venice, Florence and Rome. Anyone know of any lesser known places to see? Sure, I want to see the Collosseum and all those places. But I'm more interested in going down some back streets and taking pictures of the local hang outs. Also, I'm going to be shooting with my 4x5 and medium format, does anyone know what the Italian airports are like? Should I ask for a hand inspection?
     
  2. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Siena!

    A must see city in southern Tuscany.
     
  3. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    Do you mean lesser known places aside from Rome, Venice, Florence, or lesser known areas within those cities? If the former will you have a car?

    You can ask for hand inspections, but I think you should reconcile yourself to your film going throught the machine at least most of the time.
     
  4. Ian David

    Ian David Subscriber

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    Italy is an extremely photogenic place. There are loads of great photos to be had in all the cities you mention, plus just about everywhere else. Just grab your camera and wander around. When in Rome I had a lot of fun hanging around St Peters with the camera. Hundreds of nuns on tour make pretty good subjects... (see attached)
     

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  5. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I've been to the three cities you mention, plus some others. Between the major tourist attractions, all the old cities are full of little vias with small shops, interesting houses, piazzas, statuary etc. Just the age of many things is mind boggling. a real sense of history. You could probably spend a year in the country and only see a fraction of what's there. I was surprised when I got out and about that Venice is small enough to walk across the whole city (some of the "streets" are a bit wet :D). Just people watching is fantastic; in the evening folks come out for a stroll and eventually hit the restaurants for a late meal. The photo opportunities and food are fantastic.

    Enjoy it!

    DaveT
     
  6. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Ditto!

    I'll add: Orvieto and Ostia Antica.

    Plus the Cinque Terre. :smile:
     
  7. Paul Cocklin

    Paul Cocklin Member

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    I could spend months shooting in Firenze and not feel nearly finished. A must-stop is the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Some beautiful Botticelli's there. The opportunities will be endless.

    The Forum in Rome has some great possibilities, too. The Pantheon, the Mouth of Truth, the list is almost endless. Jeez, I'm really jealous...

    Pisa is a short train ride from Florence, too.
     
  8. alanrockwood

    alanrockwood Member

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    You could try Riva del Garda, quite possibly the most beautiful spot on the face of the earth. It's kind of hard to get to however. When I went there, starting from Milan it involved both a train ride and a long bus ride. It's worth it though.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Go from Venezia to Firenze by way of Verona.

    In Roma, just walk around - the antique city center is all within walking distance. Have lunch in Trastevere.

    Bring more film. :wink:
     
  10. faustotesta

    faustotesta Member

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    You have a private message (with indications for your holiday in Italy).
     
  11. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    All three of those places are beautiful (although for me Venice itself is overrated...) You'll have a great time. Others will have a better idea of places to see, but I will comment on Italian airports, as I've been to Italy a fair number of times on both business and pleasure.


    Of my travels through Italian airports, only once have I been frogmarched at gunpoint to a holding area (for the crime of carrying prescription medication - an Epipen.) That's the good news; the bad news is that Italian airport security on the whole would give JFK immigration a run for their money in the belligerent stakes.

    I think it's very, very unlikely you'll receive an open hearing to the prospect of a hand inspection at, say, Roma airport. At best, they'll just ignore you, at worst they'll threaten you with an automatic weapon.


    Bear in mind also that English is actually not that widely spoken in Italy; you'd do well to learn some basic Italian before going.
     
  12. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

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    Close to Pisa is Lucca, a very small very old town. Photo ops at every step.
    Viareggio has a nice small harbor and esplanade. Cheaper to stay here (in the off season) than Pisa.

    Also, though it's a bit difficult, are the marble mountains and quarries of Carrera.

    john
     
  13. mooseontheloose

    mooseontheloose Subscriber

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    I asked this very same question a few years ago on another forum and basically the answer was the same as here (if you're sticking to those cities) -- just walk around! I found most of the cities immensely walkable (with the acception of Rome, due to smog) and there will be a multitude of things to photograph wherever you go. Initially I had not planned to go to Venice (too overrated I thought) but it ended up being my favorite city to visit. It's very easy to get stuck in the flow of tourists but if you break from the stream the rest of the streets are pretty quiet and tourist-free and great for photographs. And it's an island, a small one at that, so if you hit the open water, just turn around and go in another direction.

    Getting to any of the small towns mentioned above would be a nice break from the cities as well. If you're using a car that will really help.

    Finally, it's important to remember that it's not just at the airport where you'll have to deal with x-rays. A lot of the major tourist sites (ex. Colisseum) x-ray all bags before you're allowed in -- absolutely no hand inspections allowed. At least, that was the case when I was there in 2004, things may have changed since then.
     
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  15. Windscale

    Windscale Member

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    A short bus trip from Rome will take you to Villa d'este where you will find the most magnificent fountains. Allow for at least half a day and bring plenty of film.
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Before my first trip over there, I mentioned to a fellow art club member who's been there several times that I was agonizing over an itinerary. His comment was, "Don't worry -- you can't miss -- the whole country is an art museum!"

    DaveT
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Consider a day (or two) side trip up the Mediterranean coast from Firenze through the Cinqueterre to Portofino and Genoa. Genoa is vastly under-touristed, has plenty of attractive sights, and features lots of little hidden gems that will stop you in your tracks for potentially hours at a time. I have a friend who lives in Genoa, just a few yards from the old cathedral (the black-and-white striped Guelph cathedral, dating to the 11th century or so), and in a half-hour or so walking tour from his place we went by a little church that you'd never think to bother with from outside, but has multiple altarpieces by Reubens that look like they were painted yesterday - they simply gleam off the walls. The little towns of the Cinqueterre are terrific visits, linked by a clifftop path. Vernazza and Riomaggiore are two of the better known stops. Manarola is another one with a famous bench showing a kissing couple along the cliffside trail. You can get the local train from Genoa that stops at all of the towns, just buy a ticket that takes you to the farthest one, and you can get on and off at each stop along the way. REMEMBER to stamp your ticket at each station before you re-embark, or you'll face a hefty fine, on the spot, from the conductor.

    Around Firenze, a great little day trip is up to Fiesole. Also, as mentioned by others, Pisa, Siena and Lucca are very close and worth the visit. In Florence, take time to go to the Fratelli Alinari National Museum of Photography - MNAF - http://www.mnaf.it/eng/mnaf/mnaf.html . I think when I was there it was between homes- they had closed the gallery space within their palazzo.
     
  18. rrankin

    rrankin Member

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    I agree with Venice perhaps being over-rated. I personally loved Verona and Padova (Padua) and took some of my best photos there. We hit both by train from Venice. Florence was a bit overwhelming to me, and I suspect is best enjoyed and appreciated without a camera the first time there. But I doubt you could find a town that WASN'T photo worthy, so your real problem is picking which of the thousands of potential shots you want to take.

    Italy makes it easy to spend more time taking photos than taking in Italy.
     
  19. panastasia

    panastasia Member

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    I've been there. The scenery depicted on Italian product labels is a preview of what you'll see in Tuscany. The view from many of the hilltop cities will amaze you. Umbria, south of Tuscany, is a less populated area and a good base for traveling north and south.

    Be warned, the autostrada (highways) are like race tracks. I found that it was best to not be looking in the rear view mirror too often; I needed a day or two to learn how to drive like the locals with my underpowered rental car.

    I've been told by world travelers that Sicily is the most beautifully country they've ever visited - I didn't have time to make the southern trip, I only had 10 days to travel around.

    The Italian people are very friendly and forgiving if you don't know the language, like the Dutch and Swiss people, IMHO, unlike my experience in France. Just my opinion based on my experience. Happy traveling!
     
  20. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    I've heard it said that Italy has half of western Europe's great art treasures; and Florence, half of those.

    Throw a rock and you'll hit something beautiful. But you'll have to buy her a drink then. :smile:

    God I love that country. I could live there I'm pretty sure---even if my half-Sicilian origins haven't enabled me yet to learn the language.
     
  21. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    I didn't like to mention it earlier in case it was just my rose-tinted spectacles talking, but since you mentioned the place I'll concur and recommend Fiesole. I spent a week of my honeymoon in Fiesole - it made a great base for then roaming around in Firenze as well as being just lovely in itself.


    I agree with everything that's been said, anyway - Italy in general is wonderful, Firenze is wonderful squared, the people are great and the girls are beautiful :D. Seriously, you can't go wrong.

    If I ever earn enough money to quit work, up sticks and become a tortured artist somewhere - ha! - it'll be Tuscany (provided Ilford film and paper is readily available :D.)
     
  22. Síle

    Síle Member

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    I agree with the attitude "Go anywhere.. it's all beautiful" but feel the need to jump to Venice's defence.. I went thinking I would hate it, loving the simple Italy - (Umbria in particular and it's small towns, Todi, Spoleto and tiny medieval towns such as Rotecastello) - but Venice took my breath away, it was absolutely magical and getting up to see St Mark's square at 5am for sunrise.. wow..
    That said .. there wasn't a part of Rome or Firenze I didn't like.
    Have a wonderful trip.. though I know already you will.


    S
     
  23. faustotesta

    faustotesta Member

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    I read all of the posts of these threads and i must admit i'm proud of being Italian.
    We have a lots of well known problems but we're also lucky of living in a beautiful country.
    You reminded me what we (Italians) often forget (warmth of people, beauties of our cities/towns/countries).
    What i can say, for all those coming to Italy, is to bring plenty of films. Xrays machins at the airports and in Saint Peter are safe until 400 or 800 iso. If you want a hand inspection you may try. Much depens on the policeman you encounter.
    What i may recommend, before coming here, is to a read this book ( http://www.amazon.com/Ciao-America-Italian-Discovers-U-S/dp/0767912365 ). It has been written by an Italian Journalist who has lived for a while in the US. The books is about Italians on holidays in the states. It depicts, tongue-in-cheek, our plus and our minus.
    Ciao a tutti
     
  24. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    In addition to agreeing with what others have said, let me point out that the Rome airport is a *complete* *screaming* *madhouse*. It's exceedingly difficult to find your way around in, the English spoken by airport employees is sometimes rather inventive, and it's full of unintelligible signs that guide you to empty counters in areas that appear to be permanently under construction.

    What I'm saying is, don't bet on being able to get a hand inspection. You might get someone genial and communicative who would love to hand-check your film while chatting about cameras; you might get the opposite; most likely you'll simply cause more confusion by asking. For what it's worth, though, they've X-rayed quite a bit of my film there without causing any problems.

    Also, especially if you're flying Alitalia, be aware that they're world-famous for lost luggage. Every time I've checked a bag to Italy, it's gone for an unscheduled side trip and I've had to spend a bunch of my time in the country shopping for underwear. At the very least, don't check any of your photo gear, and if you can possibly travel entirely out of a carry-on, it would be a good idea to do so.

    It's a beautiful, enjoyable, highly photogenic country. Have a good time, and expect to be planning your next trip there while you're still on the flight home.

    -NT
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    IMHO, Florence is made for Kodachrome :smile:.

    Matt
     
  26. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Sure is. I used 5 rolls there. The only reason it wasn't 8 is because I couldn't find anywhere locally that sold it!

    Ian