Wandering the streets of Italy
Recently, our travel photographs to Italy, all taken with the Pentax645N and on Kodak Ektar 100, got featured in a local magazine (Signature Magazine) as part of their photography issue. We feel so absolutely blessed to have some of our personal work published, just because that’s not what usually gets the most attention! And these images are ones that we are so excited and passionate about, just because they are absolutely and only purely for us!
For a lot of people who couldn’t read the article in person, here is the accompanying piece that I wrote along with a lot more images from Italy!
“A year ago, I turned to my husband, Daniel, and said, “Before we start a family, I want to go to Europe.” He said, “Let’s do it”. It took us a little while of planning and saving, but when we got an email from a friend saying that Emirates airline was running a promotion to Milan, I knew it was a sign!
So instead of doing a 12 day, 12 country trip, which would have been insane, we picked Italy as the country to spend our 12 days in and boy, was it an absolute dream come true.
It’s not uncommon to hear other people’s amazing stories about France, Italy, Germany, London. The culture, the architecture, the art, the food. It’s easy to imagine the beauty of the place through all of what we’ve seen in movies and photographs.
But, oh my goodness! There is nothing like seeing the place for yourself. There’s nothing like walking the cobblestone streets till your feet hurt, but you don’t want to stop. There’s nothing like stopping in EVERY gelato shop, and ordering at least ONE scoop of Stracciatella gelato, daily. Yes, in Italy, it’s OK to eat gelato (milk-based ice cream) every day… just make sure you walk it off!
First up, we landed in Milan and headed straight to Florence, Tuscany.
Florence is the BEST little town to be in as your first stop in Italy, just because you can walk almost anywhere in 20 minutes! It’s quaint, cozy and so easy to navigate. It’s also alley after alley, with all the best little nooks and crannies. Known for their leather goods, their stunning Duomo (italian for cathedral), and the Uffizi Gallery that houses the mind-blowing Botticelli paintings, amongst so many other incredible works of art, we had the best time walking the streets and eating all pasta and pizza till we were blue in the face!
Next stop was Rome! We visited St Peter’s Basilica (a must see!), The Vatican Museum and the Colosseum. Rome, you’ll realize is much bigger, and much more like a city. One of the best things we did in Rome, was sit at Cafe Marzio in Trastevere (a fantastic recommendation from a friend), sipping on our cappuccinos and our espressos, eating the most delicious breakfast while watching the square come to life. On a side note, I have to mention that Italians KNOW how to lay out a breakfast spread. There are breakfast cafe/bars everywhere and each one has a spread of croissants, sandwiches, danishes, and more pastries. Daniel claims Italy is his culinary home! We thoroughly enjoyed getting up each morning, knowing that we could get a delicious cappuccino and a delicious sandwich for 3 euros (USD$3.50)! Of course, we never ate just ONE pastry. And I never had just ONE cappuccino. And just a word of caution, if you go to Italy and order a “latte”, you’ll get a glass of steamed milk! Make sure you order a “Café Latte”! We are such coffee enthusiasts, so being able to be in the land of espresso, where all of these baristas can make a perfect espresso in their sleep, was just magical.
Oh yes, do you know that they have flower markets in the Piazzas (town squares)? I was so enamored by the beauty of the most gorgeous flowers.
Onward to Salerno, which was very much a locals town. We were recommended by the website, Walks of Italy, to stay there instead of Positano or Sorrento, and that was a great choice! It was so interesting and fascinating to see how the locals live! People were quite surprised that we spoke English only (the few little words I knew didn’t cut it) and many people thought Daniel was Italian! We used Salerno as a jumping point for Pompeii and for the Amalfi Coast.
Now, the Amalfi coast, was just breathtaking. It is truly just as unbelievably beautiful and stunning as you’ve seen in all the movies. In fact, it was better. We took the ferry, which was a fantastic idea, because you got to take in all the gorgeousness of the coastal towns as they passed by. It got a bit choppy so prepared if you get seasick easily! When we arrived, we decided to go up to Ravello, a small town on the side of a mountain, that is made up of little paths and hidden corners. No cars are allowed into the town, which made it even more perfect. After a good 15 minute walk, we made it to Villa Cimbrone, which is a little bit of paradise on earth, I truly believe. We fell in love instantly. A beautiful garden estate, with “Secret Garden” style paths to get lost in, our only regret is that we didn’t get to spend all day there! Villa Cimbrone is a MUST see! It takes a little bit to get there, but it’s totally worth it.
Pompeii was absolutely stunning, and so intriguing. There was also a touch of sadness to the place as well, seeing that there was such a vibrant and complex culture before the volcano erupted. This place was on Daniel’s bucket list and we spent hours there. If you go, wear some GOOD shoes! And be prepared for a good amount of walking. We were beat by the time we got to the apartment we were staying in.
Last but not least, Venice! Venice was the place we chose to breathe and relax. Given that it was our last few days in Italy, the feeling of having to return to reality (as much as we missed our pups and chickens!), was starting to creep in. The best thing we did was rent a place on Giudecca, a smaller island off of the main island of Venice, that only locals live on. It gave us the necessary respite from the throngs of crowds. We spent a ton of time getting lost in the streets and drinking wine and coffee! Piazza San Marco was absolutely stunning at night, and the live music that plays in the square is the most romantic thing. It was so fun to see the gondolas float in the canals, as opera singers serenaded their passengers! What we didn’t expect is the lovely little restaurant that was on the island we stayed at called “La Palanca”. With the perfect view of Venice from across the way, it was there that I had the best sandwich of my life. A “tramezzini”, they called it. The sandwich wasn’t even complicated, but it was so delicious.
And from there, we left, along with a little piece of my heart. Our traveling souls will surely be back, hopefully with a little brood in tow. Ciao!