Florence – 1st Things First

My friends invariably ask me 2 questions… Where are you going this month? and What do you do first? The answer to the first question changes every month… The answer to the second, however, is always the same…

Just wander.. roam..explore with no destination in mind…

Cold Drinks BW

 

Up and down the side streets, in and out of alleys…

Cold Drinks Early Evening Stars

 

Early evening … lights just beginning to come on… the streets in Florence were strangely empty of people… even the Piazza di Duomo

1st Look - Bell Tower Details-Duomo

 

Maybe because it was late November.. maybe because it had just stopped raining..  It was peaceful.. quiet..and very pretty.

Well Lit Scooters on a Narrow Street Cold Drinks River Scene

 

A great 1st night..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art                         Fine Art America

Italian Trains

Train travel in Italy is a breeze..  Tickets can be purchased online at Italiarail and come in 2 basic types.. E-Ticket and Self -Print. The inter-city trains are usually e-ticket and the regionals are self-print..

Most trains from Rome will start at the Roma Termini Station.. Ours did..

Roma Termini Station

The central station in Rome is a lot like a small city, with designer shops, restaurants, and small stands selling everything from pretzels to souvenirs.  Needless to say, it is a pretty big place.

InsideFlorence

The trains are easy to find.. the routes can be a little difficult. At any given time there can be several trains, either going to or passing through wherever you are trying to get, and leaving within 15 minutes of each other.  Fortunately, the route signs are labeled with each stop that continually scrolls…keep your eyes open and pay attention and you’ll be fine..

Looking for Our Train

Track 6 - Our Train

As I said, the trains are clean and comfortable.. The seats in 1st class have power outlets and tables.

Inside 1st Class

The trip to Florence from Rome takes a mere 1 1/2 on the ICN (nonstop) trains with the regionals being a bit slower. Either way, it is a nice way to enjoy the rolling Italian countryside.

There are a couple train stations in Florence..The first being Campo di Marte.

Campo di Marte

It is a good 20-30 minute hike to the center of the city so if you are staying close to the Duomo your best bet is the next station, Santa Maria Novella.

With only a couple days on this whirlwind trip.. we dropped our bags at the hotel (Hotel Cardinal of Florence) and had a cappuccino on the terrace with this view…

From Terrace - Panorama From Terrace 2 Florence Rooftops

Then off to start exploring…

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art                Fine Art America

A Selection of Doors – Rome

It’s Thursday.. must be time for a new selection of doors..

3 Lions 73

As those of you who follow along with me know.. doors are one of my favorite subjects to shoot..an endless variety abound in every city I visit.

Sign and Trees Traslochi No Parking Sign

 

But in a lot of cases, no matter how different they are, they are also very similar.. especially in cities like Rome. Arched doorways and wooden doors..

Green 43 Green 23 Different Walls 67 Crooked 105 Broken Marble

 

Different..but the same..no?

238 Cavour Behind the Wall 32 Marble and Grate Different Walls 67 Long Step with Trees

 

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art                          Fine Art America

 

Coliseum and Beyond

After a strenuous climb, a caapucino and gelato, we were ready to continue our walking tour of the city.

Hidden at the Top BW

 

Of course, with so many sites to see near the river, we had to make a couple of little detours on our way to the coliseum.. But not before we did a really touristy thing.. mail a few post cards from the Vatican Post Office..

Vatican Post

 

And some things we saw… not in any particular order

Angel with Cross

 

Altare della Patria

Castel Sant'Angelo Piazza del Popolo Sacro Cuore del Suffragio Temple of Portunus

 

Cool city, huh?

After meandering the alleyways and side-streets for a few hours, we finally arrived at the Coliseum..with the Arc de Constantinople standing right along side..

Collesium 1 Collesium Interior 3 Collesium Interior2

 

AC 1 Arch and Collesium

 

The sites of the Temple of Venus and Roma are right across the street …

Site of Temple of Venus and Roma

 

The Arco di Tito (Arch of Titus) was the inspiration for the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and also stands near by.. Unfortunately, access was closed for the day.. possibly due to the demonstration that was forming at the Coliseum..

It was beginning to get dark, so we headed back to the hotel… early train for Florence in the morning..

Happy Travels!!

Photography as Art

 

Photo of the Day – Rome

As I said.. I will be getting back into the groove here.. and I am usually as good as my word..lol

Hidden Alley Church

 

This is a scene from the terrace of our hotel..it’s actually a small and old church hidden away in an alley.. Unfortunately, I never could get inside..

Happy Travels!

Photography as Art

For anyone that may be looking for more of my “Black and White” photos..feel free to stop by   Hotshoe and follow along..

I’ve Been Lazy

Ok..I admit it.. I have been lazy.. I promise to do better…back to my Photos of the day posts..

Lost in Rome CW

 

I did a little “photoshopping” (actually Lightrooming) with this alley scene from Rome.. It is in the “Weird Art” gallery on Fine Art America.. That’s the site I use to post prints for sale..

And since I am about a month behind, here’s one more  😛

English Paperbacks BWHave a great day!  and

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Photography as Art

 

St. Peter’s Basilica

551 steps…

From Bridge

 

St.Peter’s Basilica.. One of the highlights of any trip to Rome.. and if you make the climb, one of the best veiws of Rome that can be found anywhere.

Waiting in LineOf course, on the way to the entrance, before you enter the square, you have to deal with the hundreds of of people selling “fast pass” and “skip the line” tickets that range anywhere from 20 to 45 Euros.. The lines ARE usually pretty long but don’t fall for the 2 1/2 to 3 hr wait time they tell you..but be prepared for a 20 minute wait.  The line moves fast and it’s only for security.  The entrance to the actual cathedral is free..

25 Minutes

 

This photo was taken from the end of the line and 22 minutes later we were inside…like I said, it moves pretty fast..

Once you pass security, you have to buy a ticket to the Basilica..the church may be free but the climb up is not.. It will cost 5 Euros to climb all those steps..or 7 Euros to take the elevator to the first level..  Unless you are feeling like you want the whole experience, take the elevator. I have done it both ways and the first 200 steps are pretty boring..nothing to see..just a hall with steps.. a lot of steps..

Up the Stairs

and there are still plenty of steps to enjoy after the lift… My advice.. buy the elevator ticket. Even if you want to climb all the way up, which gives you bragging rights, you can always use the elevator to come back down…

The first level leads up to a walkway around the inside of the dome where you can look into the church below and see the beautiful inside murals on the walls and the dome above. The first time I was here, there was a wire cage that you could actually shoot through.. that has been replaced by plexiglass which was dirty and scratched and darn near impossible to get a shot.. sorry but it’s true.

1st Level Mural 1 Basilica Dome

 

Now the fun part begins.. for the next 100 or so steps… you have the squeeze by people coming down…yep..exit and entrance is the same for this part..

Up More Stairs

 

More Stairs

 

Spiral

 

Eventually…you will make it to the top.. huffing and puffing … but excited ..

From Basilica Dome Piazza di San Pietro

 

 

There is no time limit on how long you can stay and gaze out over the city.. I am not sure if I stayed for 30 minutes because I was captivated by the views or just knew I had to walk back down…probably a little of both..but eventually …..

The second level, on the way down is a broad expanse of flat roof top.. you will find a restroom here, along with a clean water fountain, a small cafe and a gift shop..

and some pretty good views too…

Rooftop of Cathedral Square Curve Rooftop of Cathedral

 

There are also some perfect views of the Basilica itself..

Bottom of the Dome Standing Guard

 

The elevator to ground level is also here..

 

Then down, down, down….

The interior of the cathedral is a work of art… full of paintings and statues and ornate iron and stone work..

After Corridor of Statues Domed Ceiling 1 Entry Hall St. Peter's Gated On the Throne

 

Like I said.. one of the highlights of any trip to Rome..

At the exit is a booth where you can buy tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum…both of which, we skipped this trip..

Now time for some pizza, gelato..and my feet are begging me to rest… Still a long walk exploring this afternoon..

HAPPY TRAVELS!

Photography as Art

Rome – The 1st Real Day

Arches

Since we arrived so late in the day, we had just decided to rest and relax (after a few hours of walking and shooting) and get ready for a long day of walking, exploring and enjoying the city..

Spanish Steps

As always, the first stop was the Spanish Steps.. a large plaza and street guarded by the church, Trinita del Monti..

The Trevi Fountain was closed for repair or upgrading.. couldn’t really get the whole story but it was still crowded. The entire fountain was curtained by a 8′ high plexiglass wall so photos were useless..

Then we headed over to the river..I love to walk along the river. The architecture of the buildings found there is amazing..and there all kinds of little side streets and back alleys where you might find a hidden gem of a cafe..

River Scene 2 Stone Bridge with Buildings Down to River Through and Up

 

The winding river paths bring you to the Ponte Vittorio Bridge…

Ponte VittorioCastle Sant Angelo

Castle of the Holy Angel

and Vatican City.. The first look at St. Peter’s Basilica is usually from one of the many bridges crossing the Tiber River..

St. Peter's 1st LookFull Front Square 1

Ok..so we had been walking for about 4 1/2 hours by this time and I wasn’t sure I was up to the climb..  551 steps to the top of St.Peter’s Basilica..which might very well be the best view in Rome.. but still 551 STEPS…

Stay Tuned  🙂

HAPPY TRAVELS!!

Photography as Art

 

 

 

Return to Italy

St. Peter's 1st Look B&W

I love visiting Italy… The history… the architecture… the food… Everything about Italy just begs to be explored.

Piazza Maria after the Rain

This was my second trip to Italy, and like the first, it began in Rome … The home of the Coliseum, The Pantheon, Vatican City .. and countless statues and monuments paying tribute to the past of the glorious Roman Empire.

A quick word.. The public transportation system in Rome is hard to beat… so forget the expensive cabs heading to the center from the airport.. The Leonardo Express takes about a 1/2 hour non-stop to Roma Termini..and costs just 12 Euros..Buses are even cheaper but I like trains..

Anyway..we took the above mentioned train from the airport to the main train/bus staion – Roma Termini..

Roma Termini

 

I usually stay in the Mecenate Palace Hotel, which is a 5-8 minute walk from the station.. It’s a nice hotel, excellent staff and a wonderful rooftop terrace where you can look out over the city.. The view from the room, as always, was amazing..  The Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore sits right across the street..

Hotel Lobby Mecenate Hotel Entry Out of the Rain

St.Maria Again

                                                      View from our window

It’s a wonderful, if smaller, cathedral and the entry is free..

Arched Ceiling Kneeling in Prayer Santa Maria InteriorIt was a great way to start a trip.. especially since it was raining sporadically since we arrived..But with all the great cafes and museums, it was easy to find a place to stay dry..

Since we arrived late, we decided to just walk around and do some exploring, without worrying about “landmarks” and “touristy sites” ..  Rome is very walkable, despite being very large.. And there are always interesting subjects to shoot..It is a photographer’s dream city..

Framed by Arch Menu Scooter Parking Self Service Tobacco Trash Bike Unusual View

 

Afterwards, we decided to help ourselves to some gelato..and relax.. Tomorrow was going to be a long day…

HAPPY TRAVELS!!

Photography as Art