Category Archives: Italy

The Best of Italy

And that concludes my three week Italian odyssey. I didn’t go everywhere but I’m calling this “The Best of Italy” anyway, I’m out of control with all this editorial power. I managed to enjoy a little bit of everything from the mountains of the Dolomites to the canals of Venice, the ruins of Rome and the beautiful waters of the Amalfi Coast. While pretty much everything was great, I think the highlights for me were hiking in the Dolomites, cycling in Rome, exploring the Cinque Terre, seeing the Leaning Tower of Pisa and relaxing in Sorrento. The Italian people were friendly everywhere I went (except maybe Pompeii) and impressively patient with my poor grasp of the Italian language, grazie!

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Positano on the Amalfi Coast

I took a bus along the Amalfi Coast to see what all the fuss was about and boy what a day! The bus ride alone was epic, snaking along those narrow coastal roads with each corner offering a unique opportunity for carnage. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip but I think I enjoyed Positano the most, there were beautiful views everywhere but this romantic town seemed to have a little something something extra.

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Chasing the Sorrento Sun

If there is one thing I will remember about Sorrento (other than limoncello) it’s the sun, it was everywhere. That might sound stupid but it dominates my thoughts and can definitely be seen in my photos which feature a lot of sun rising and sun setting. I enjoyed my time chasing the Sorrento sun and it’s a great base to explore the Amalfi Coast, Pompeii and Naples.

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Taming Mt Vesuvius

After Pompeii put my 14 year old brain to sleep I decided to get to the source of the problem, Mt Vesuvius. Back in 79 AD this bad boy erupted, wiping out the cities of  Herculaneum (not really living up to the name…) and Pompeii, killing around 16000 people in the process. Taming Mt Vesuvius wasn’t going to be easy so I cheated and took a giant 4×4 two thirds of the way to the top, this isn’t the only way to do it but it was by far the most convenient at the time. There were some interesting rock formations and the view from the top was amazing. It was another scorching day but not half as scorching as that infamous day back in 79 AD. Mount Vesuvius isn’t done quite yet though, it’s the most active volcano on the European mainland and a genuine danger to the 3 million people living nearby. If you want to impress your friends I suggest mentioning that Vesuvius is a stratovolcano, they’ll love you for it.

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Pompeii, or What’s Left of it

Exploring the ruins of Pompeii seemed like something I couldn’t miss, in retrospect I probably could have. It’s an interesting place and I enjoyed learning about the history behind the eruption of Mt Vesuvius but I probably saw enough ruins in Rome to keep me going for the next few years. I wanted to love it but most of the time I felt I was back in school on a geography field trip, waiting for the teacher to turn away so I could go buy an ice cream and lie in the sun. I’m sorry Pompeii, I just wasn’t feeling it today.

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Pizza in Naples!

Pretty much nobody wants to see photos of food other people ate on their holiday but this was a pizza in Naples, where it was born damn it! Get over your food envy already!

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All Roads Lead to Rome

All roads lead to Rome, including my own. Only for three days though as I’ve got a schedule to keep people! Rome was very….um….Roman? With lot’s of grand monuments and epic ruins to keep me busy while I tried my best to overcome the intense heat that has been following me round these last few weeks. While some places are overrated and some are underrated I think Rome is appropriately rated, a historical location with lots of interesting things to enjoy. Vatican City was a must-do, as were the Pantheon, Colosseum and Spanish Steps but for me the highlight was cycling down the Appian Way, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it.

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Relaxing at the Spanish Steps

Here’s a nice shot of people relaxing at the base of the Spanish Steps on another hot day in Rome, definitely a better alternative to walking up them…

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Cycling the Appian Way

Cycling the Appian Way (one of the earliest and most important Roman roads) was one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done in Italy. After renting a bike I cruised over the old cobblestone road at a leisurely pace past some gorgeous scenery. In was nice to get out of the big city and into a more rural area to see a different side of Rome. Naturally I bit off more than I could chew and went all the way out to Lake Albano, a popular spot that luckily had no shortage of gelato, an essential source of energy for the grueling trip home.

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Exploring Vatican City

Today I got up bright and early and headed to Vatican City in an attempt to tick off my Dan Brown inspired list of sites with the least amount of time spent in lines as possible. In the end it didn’t go too badly, I was the first person to the top of St Peter’s Basilica (awesome view!) and had a quick look around the square before making my way to the Vatican Museum. It was at this point where I got back to the reality of traveling around Europe in the summer and the outrageous lines that go with it. There was around an hours wait to get into the museum but I’m getting used to in now so it wasn’t too bad. Some of the art and architecture was beautiful and the Sistene Chapel is probably worth the wait by itself. All in all it was a fun morning exploring Vatican City.

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The Pantheon

The Pantheon was a nice surprise, sure it’s overrun with tourists like me but it’s a beautiful space and I love the light that comes through the top of the dome, two thumbs up!

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The Roman Forum

It is so hot, so very very hot. Obviously it’s the perfect day to explore the Roman Forum and all it’s ruins. I’ll probably go in the early afternoon to maximize the intense heat and dehydration…

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Fifty Shades of Colosseum

‘”Take me to the Colosseum!” is what I said to no one in particular when I arrived in Rome on a stinking hot summer’s day. It was only a walking distance from where I was staying so I ended up taking myself on foot. Now I am the proud owner of Colosseum photos from every time of day imaginable, fifty shades of Colosseum if you will.

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Walking the Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a gorgeous stretch of coastline on the Italian Riviera punctuated by the five villages of Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Assuming good weather and track conditions, you can walk between the villages (a track known as Sentiero Azzurro or ‘Light Blue Trail’) and enjoy the beautiful views on offer. The section between Corniglia and Manarola is known as the Dell’Amore or ‘Lovers Walk’ by the way if you wanna impress your lady (and I know you do). Shout out to the ice cream store in Monterosso for their amazing gelato.

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On to Vernazza

Further along the Cinque Terre coast we came to Vernazza, another delightful little fishing village.

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Checking out Manarola

Time for some exploring on the Cinque Terre coast of the Italian Riviera. I began by checking out Manarola, one of the five towns that make up this beautiful stretch of land. Look at those houses! Gorgeous!

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Trick Photography at the Leaning Tower of Pisa

As if I was going to come all the way to the Leaning Tower of Pisa and not do some sort of stupid perspective trick shot! Well here it is, I especially like the guy on the right taking a photo of me, no doubt he’ll add it to his photography blog and become famous.

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Leaning Tower of Pisa

Get ready for a good old fashioned slice of Italian Pisa! A Leaning Tower of Pisa! That was terrible, apologies. It’s almost impossible for some landmarks to live up to the hype they recieve, so with this in mind I lowered my expectations for the Leaning Tower of Pisa and wouldn’t you know, it’s awesome! For starters it really is leaning, like seriously leaning. There’s also some other interesting buildings (Duomo, Bapistry etc) in the Piazza dei Miracoli as well as lots of wide open spaces to sit down on the grass and enjoy the views. As good as the tower was however, I think the highlight of my day was when a mate typed P-I-Z-Z-A into the ticket machine and couldn’t understand why nothing was coming up, classic, and yeah I guess you had to be there.

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Ciao from Pisa!

Ciao from Pisa! It’s been a while since I jumped in front of any European landmarks so this was pretty exciting. It’s also my birthday, that’s pretty exciting too.

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Tuscan Sunshine in Florence

Florence lived up to its billing of sun, culture, landscapes and art with a flourish. There were regal gardens, colorful bridges, nice restaurants, street artists, classical architecture and famous statues such as Michelangelo’s David. Overall it was a well spent few days soaking up the Tuscan sunshine in Italy.

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