We’re back! (Well, we have been, obviously.) Italy was so many things – delicious, exhausting, beautiful, whirling, racing, colorful. I’m no travel photographer, but I wanted to share all of my photos with you, so buckle up. I could have truly done nothing but eat and take photos while I was there. Well, I mean honestly that’s kind of what I did.
A quick note before diving in: This non- travel photographer was told to throw some stuff into her print shop for some interested parties, so I’ll leave it up for anyone else!
Hopefully this didn’t come across in my photos, but the first thing we learned about Rome – and, as we found out, other major Italian cities – is that the crowds are unbelievable. They are everywhere. They’re thick and loud and pushy – tourists, of course. We were told by a well-seasoned traveler that she has never seen crowds bigger than the ones in Italy. They don’t sleep, either. We rose before dawn several times for various reasons, and there were always people about.
As you can see, though, we made due! I think on average we walked about 7 miles per day. I wish I was kidding. Our longest day was over 10 miles of walking. I am so glad I bought gel inserts for my shoes before the trip!
But it’s truly the best way to see Rome, albeit a little slower with all of the weaving through people. You see windows and crooked cobblestones and roof lines that you’d likely never notice from the window of a taxi or bus, or from the train tracks.
Although we didn’t stray far from Rome in the interest of “soaking it all in,” we did make a jaunt to Pompeii for the day about halfway through the trip. This is what I was looking forward to since we decided to go to Italy. Pompeii has always been one of my favorite tragedies in history (which sounds a little backwards when I type it out but hey). The city was hit with a terrible earthquake, and then, in the middle of rebuilding, it was destroyed forever by a volcano which is still active today. (Yikes.)
More crowds, of course. We opted out of taking an official tour with a guide. This would prove to be our undoing as we set off into this vast archaeological site with nothing but a map and a camera. I don’t think we had any way of understanding just how much there was to cover, and in just one day.
Pompeii, like much of Italy, is equal parts frustrating and amazing. There seemed to be very little rhyme or reason for where one could walk and explore within the ruins. Sites that were touted as very important on the map were completely blocked from access – likely temporarily I’m sure – with no explanation, in any language. And others were open and abused by the public, who thought it would be a great idea to carve their names into an historical site. Because obviously.
We really enjoyed the various bath houses throughout the ruins.
We were surprised to find that our favorite view was an unassuming spot at the top of the Grand Theater. Although it was midday by this point, with the sun beating down on everyone’s heads, we were all stopped in our tracks by the spread of wildflowers among the toppled buildings. You know me – I would have given anything to be transported back here at the golden hour with a beautiful girl in a flowing gown – but even so, I couldn’t help lingering for a few photos. I even snagged one of Soner there at the end.
Here are the rest of my Pompeii favorites:
We spent the majority of the rest of our time in Italy bumming around Rome, learning how to handle the myriad of persistent street vendors…
…and hanging out eating chocolate and fruit at Piazza Venezia, which surprised me by becoming one of my favorite little spots. I’ll just pop the rest of these on in here and leave you with a link to the print shop – if you see anything you want that isn’t in the shop, all you have to do is let me know to put it in for you! Thanks for entertaining my fantasies of being a travel photographer – maybe we’ll get some more of these in the coming year.