Ciao Italia!

One of the truisms about travel, especially abroad, is to expect anything, assume nothing. Be open to opportunities, don’t over-plan and enjoy each experience.

Taking those hopes to heart made this trip to Italy truly rewarding. 

Internet was sporadic the first few days, and non-existant the last five; certainly, that marks the longest stretch in recent memory, and it was strangely freeing. Weather wasn’t optimal, but taking advantage of the soft light of overcast days and occasional rain also felt freeing and challenging, forcing me to look in different places, at different angles. 

Our first few days were spent in Bologna, and we walked for two days around the city, wandering the back streets and main thoroughfares alike. The most fun places are the markets, filled with colorful products and food.


The second leg of our trip, and the most important, was spent near Lucca at Villa Cenami as guests of Lorenzo and Courtney, truly wonderful hosts with two adorable little boys, Ludi and Edward.

The area and region are simply stunning, as is the estate.

One of the reasons we came was to help with the olive harvest for the year.

The poor weather had done some damage to the crop, but we were eventually able to get out and work for a while.

We had the afternoon to enjoy nearby Lucca as well. While the rain came down, the city revealed itself as photogenic regardless of setting. 


I also had the opportunity to photograph the baptism of our hosts’ youngest child, Edward, which was exciting and a real honor. It was a joyous day, filled with family and friends alike.

We can’t thank Courtney and Lorenzo enough, as well as Courtney’s dad, Jack, who was also there visiting and a great resource for many things.

We hope to return again and would encourage anyone else to seek out the estate as a home base for exploring the region. 


Certainly many more photos are coming, and I hope to put together a few photographic books from this trip, including one on the olive harvest, another on graffiti and who knows what else might strike my fancy.

Remember when traveling, like in life, that more often than not, when a door is closed, another will undoubtedly appear.


Photo of the Day 08/05/10 - Shade from the Midday Sun

One of the best parts of wandering around a place like Soave, Verona, Italy, is that there seems to be no end of winding side streets and partially hidden walkways, as well as a few paths lost to rubble and time. This particular one was certainly in fine shape, the stone slippery from hundreds of years of foot travel and slightly overgrown but in the most intentional way. 

Larger version here: Shade from the Midday Sun

Photo of the Day 08/04/10 - Urban Cowboy

A fish out of water? No, sir. Josh Clark, a fellow traveller on our trip to the Venice, Italy, area last year was just taking it all in and standing out by doing nothing more than being himself. There's nothing like being comfortable in your own skin, as well as being true to yourself ... and your wardrobe.

Larger version here: Urban Cowboy

Photo of the Day 07/29/10 - Such Great Heights

Piazza San Pietro, or Saint Peter's Square, in Rome is a fascinating place. One of the single most visited places in history, it's undoubtedly one of the most photographed as well. It's nearly impossible to get a shot that doesn't have throngs of visitors (unless you're working for the Vatican, of course, and then it's just a matter of making it happen), but I felt lucky to have found an angle of my own. That Egyptian Obelisk in the center is massive, and the scale is thrown way off by the angle ... it's 25.5 meters tall! The smoothness of the cobblestones betrays the shear number of feet that have trod those simple stones; they are nearly glass smooth to the touch. It's a place that must be visited to be understood, and in all likelihood, it's a place that demands multiple visits if one is to truly understand its impact on the world.

They will see us waving from such great heights 
"Come down now" they'll say 
But everything looks perfect from far away
"Come down now" but we'll stay 

-The Postal Service

Larger version available here: Such Great Heights