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Tips for beginner travelling to Italy

5 Feb 2013 1:18AM
Hello everybody,

I am travelling to Italy this summer (Rome, Florence and Milan) and was wondering if any of you have any tips on insider/hidden locations and spots.
My level is beginner and I have a Canon PowerShot SX150 - so nothing too fancy, but serves my level well and some 'playing around' options.

In Rome we'll be mainly visting the Coloseum and 'Ancient Sights', Castello Saint'Angelo and Borghese Gardens.
In Florence we only have a day and since I've been twice already we won't be doing too much there.
In Milan I was planning to go to the roof of the Duomo, hoping to get some good shots of the masonry up there. I was thinking for that location lots of black and white.
Might try that for Florence too, now that I mentioned it. Tongue

Any tips on making the most of Ancient Rome? Never photographed ruins before but I remember from a trip to Egypt that reliefs and stones are not eay to bring out well.

So ANT tips are welcome!

thanks you.

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JohnParminter 11 1.3k 14 England
5 Feb 2013 7:39AM
Keep a watchful eye on any valuables and possessions.
collywobles 14 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2013 8:43AM
I would second that. My first welcome to Italy was a pick pocket took my wallet from my rucsac, the only consolation was that I always carry two wallets, one with just a day to day expenditure amount in and of course the other with everthing in it. Fortunately he only got the day-day one so I only lost about £30. But if ever I see him again he is mince meat........ I'll nail him on a cross like the other bloke------ (8o) Be very very careful around the main tourist locations (Trevi Fountain etc)

Even with this bad taste it did not spoil the holiday, I found Italy the one of the most wonderful places I have visited. My tip, shoot early morning or late evening to bring out the shadows of the architecture. Shooting mid day is too bright. Enjoy it you will never regret going. Before I go try to get to and see Subiaco link here Subiaco Monestary .

Its a Monestary built into the face of cliffs and is where St Benedictine was supposed to have lived in his cave. This place is unvelievable. We saw quite a lot of Italy over a period of three holidays there and Subiaco is the single thing that stands out for me, also when I visited it tere were very few tourists as its way in the countryside not that far from Rome. Hope you enjoy it let me see your pics.

javam 13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2013 1:01PM
As I am married to an Italian I end up going there 2 or 3 times a year and had no problems or even felt at risk in Rome, Venice, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Bologna and Verona to name but a few. The only times I have been slightly concerned were down some narrow alleys in Palermo and Genova. No worse than some parts of Bristol though.

My height and my less than sunny disposition may help, but as I am generally every inch the tourist with a broad brimmed hat, baggy shorts and sandals, I would have thought that cancelled it out.

Tempting fate I am sure, but in my experience it is no worse than any where else.
puertouk 6 1.1k 17 United Kingdom
5 Feb 2013 1:13PM
Be very careful, as the locals will drive past on their scooters and snatch bags or anything else they can get their hands on.
5 Feb 2013 1:17PM
Thank you all for your concern.
I have been to Italy several times before and never had a safety issue.
And even though I appreciate all the safety tips I was really more after photography tips. Tongue
dathersmith 11 559 12 England
5 Feb 2013 1:19PM
Well I have to agree with Neil (Javam), you guys are painting a grim picture but I've been to Florence, Rome, Pisa and many smaller towns and have never had a problem.

Back to your request for tips if you have an iPad you could download my free short book that describes my visit to Montepulciano last year.

The book is titled "Holiday Travel Photography" and can be downloaded here .

User_Removed 8 4.6k 1 Scotland
5 Feb 2013 3:24PM
My suggestion, depending obviously upon your own preferences, is to forget about "historical" sights and concentrate upon photographing contemporary life in Italian cities. If you want photographs of the Coliseum or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, buy some postcards. It is practically impossible to get a snap of the Coliseum without there being scaffolding or a lighting fixture or a bunch of tourists in the frame. But if you do want stuff like that, night tends to be better than daylight.

Back streets, markets, river frontages, etc., can, on the other hand, provide great photos.

Don't become paranoid about the street crime but do be aware of it. Sit for half an hour at the Trevi Fountain, for isnatnce, and keep your eyes open - you will see at least 4 or 5 pickpockets operating quite blatantly. The "moto" cowboys are a danger - not so much because they will snatch your camera or shoulder bag but because they can cause serious neck and shoulder injuries when they rip the strap off their victim's shoulder. As in most southern European cities, those criminals tend to be Roma gypsies rather than natives of the countries.

A final tip - when visiting any large city, start by taking an open-topped bus tour. They are very cheap, you will get some interesting photographs from the top deck but, most of all, you will get a good idea of the city areas you want to visit on foot later in the day.
collywobles 14 4.0k 10 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2013 8:32AM

Quote:is to forget about "historical" sights

Totally disagree with you on this. Having been to Italy for three very long holidays and travelled from Pompei in the south to the mountains in the north on the borders of Switzerland and the one thing that stands out all the time is the history and the historic monuments. Venice, Florence, Sienna, Pisa, Rome, just so beautiful places to photograph. Certainly there is also many others places to visit but Italy's history stands out.
javam 13 1.1k 19 United Kingdom
6 Feb 2013 10:20AM
In terms of the Milan Duomo - parts are still covered in scaffolding so that may limit your photo opportunities and possibly access to the roof in general. You can check out current coverage on this web cam

If you are going to the Borghese Gardens I hope you are going round the galleries too, worth it just for the Bernini sculptures in my opinion. Although as I don't have any picture from my trip I suspect they are not allowed in there.

Ruins in the summer and all those columns/buildings sticking up into bright sky - I would go early/late and bracket the shots.

I found the inside of the pantheon (particularly the ceiling) fascinating and spent a while trying to get good abstract angles in there.

In Florence, if you have not been to Piazzale Michelangelo, I would recommend that. Great views and surrounded by gardens.

Are you driving?

If so, on your way to/from Milan I would recommend stopping at the Certosa Di Pavia for a couple of hours.

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