As regular followers of this site may be aware across November I took a trip around Italy, travelling from Turin to Rome and stopping off in Genoa, Lucca and Florence on the way. I’ve shared a few of the images I took as and when I had the chance while I was still in Italy, and as the vast majority of the images I shot were done so on film that hasn’t yet come back from the lab, at present I don’t have a huge amount to show for it. That is except for these.
This is a small selection of images, mostly snapshots, I took while out there using my digital Olympus OMD EM5 and it’s 17mm M.Zuiko 1:1.8 lens. I will stress these are “snapshots”, the good stuff (i.e. shot on medium format film)should be available to share by the end of this week or early next week. Enjoy these for the moment.
Buona Sera followers, friends and casual readers/viewers alike, as you may have noticed from the last week or so of lack of updates to this site I am not currently in the UK. Although if you saw my post from yesterday where I said that I wasn’t currently in the UK then you probably already know.
I am at present sat in a very nice, if slightly small, Airbnb in Lucca, Italy, having just finished my first week of travelling around this beautiful country with the dual aim of seeing places I have always wanted to see and shooting a million rolls of film at the same time. So far, so good.
I thought that I’d post up a quick update style post this evening though just so nobody thinks I’ve gone completely off the radar, and as tomorrow I will be off to my favourite city on the planet, Florence, for the next week, it seemed fitting to share an image I took the last time I was there. I’m aiming to recreate this on medium format and hopefully a much better exposure.
Day seven and we finally climbed to the top of the Duomo itself, exciting for me, not so much for Jo who’s not keen on heights (although will always climb up to the top of cathedrals and buildings with me when I want to). As you can imagine the view was pretty spectacular, the inside of the building itself on the way up however was two things; Hot and Crowded, horribly so on both counts. I was glad to get to the top for a bit of breeze to dry the sweat I was drenched in, I can’t remember exactly the number of steps but it was in the high hundreds and went on forever. One thing I need to mention as it’s one of those things that really winds me up, the amount of graffiti on the way up to the top of the Duomo was shocking, despite the number of signs asking please not to write on the walls. I mean come on, its a historic monument, why would anybody think writing your name on it adds anything? Today we also took a walk up the Mercato Centrale, I bartered with a guy to buy a belt, Tuscan leather is one thing I wanted to buy before we left. I don’t think my poor Italiano was the reason for the supposed heavy discount I got but maybe it helped, I’d also question how much the belt was worth if the market stall guy was happy to drop the price from 42 Euro to 22 without much of a fight. The outside of the market was pretty much all leather goods, this being Tuscany, the inside was a different matter entirely, a huge food hall with street food stalls and food made to order in front of you, bars, the whole lot. The place was amazing, so good in fact that this is where we came for dinner that evening. The final thing we did this day was get some fancy gelato, because why would you not want to do that? I bought a Baci flavoured one, if you’ve never had Baci before then I suggest you try them, in gelato form it’s even better. Anyway these are the final images (well except one from the next morning) of Firenze as the next day we left early for Pisa, this film used this day was Agfa Vista 200 (you can probably tell from the fact the sky doesn’t look quite so vibrantly blue as it does with Fuji) and as usual all taken with my Olympus OM-1 and either 50mm or 28mm lenses.
So….this is the day I turned the horrifying age of thirty. No longer could I tentatively claim to be youthful and vibrant and have my whole life left ahead of me to do fun things, I’d reached an age where I had to be a grown up. How terrible. On the plus side it was our first full day in Firenze which is where I had decided if I had to become that age I was going to do it here. Today consisted of a few awesome things; Seeing pretty much every Renaissance piece of art ever made in The Ufizi, having a good wander around the beautiful city, eating a Bistecca Alla Fiorentina the size of my head from the best restaurant we had visited so far (and to think it was practically opposite our front door) and discovering that the bottle of what we thought was very reasonably priced Prosecco was actually an awfully over-priced bottle of Asti, doh.
The day started with me nearly falling flat on my face from the dozen or so “Happy 30th Birthday” balloon’s Jo had woken up in the middle of the night to decorate the apartment with, which was a lovely thought even though it reminded me what an old man I had become in those small hours between going to sleep and waking up. The free WiFi in the apartment also meant I could be constantly reminded of this descent into geriatrics from people at home as well, thanks guys. OK all joking aside it is nice when people say Happy Birthday. I finished off my bowl of “Nice Morning” and we headed down to The Ufizi museum, a fantastic building that was once the palace of the rulers of Florence and later Duke’s of Tuscany. Two things happened here, one terrible and the other great, first was the horribly long queue to get in which although was shaded, was outside and obviously not air conditioned. The second is that you can skip this queue simply by going to the front and buying a ticket for a specific entry time rather than hanging around just trying to gt in when you get to the doors. It’s advertised all around but no one seemed to notice or realise until we were told by someone and then passed on the information Chinese Whispers style. It was around this time that security guard stopped to have a chat with me about my camera, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, shoot film and people want to talk to you because it’s different and interesting. He described my choice of using film as “brave”, until I showed him my back up digital camera as well. After getting our tickets for a set entry time we killed time by taking a walk up to the Ponte Vecchio, the wonderful thing about Firenze is how close the major sights are, the river is at the end of the street where the Palazzo Vecchio and Ufizi are and the Ponte Vecchio is another 2 minute walk from there.
Anyway lets get onto the photographs from today, not too many were taken inside the Ufizi as the ISO of the film was a little too low and there was far too many things to photograph in there. As usual all are taken with my Olympus OM1 using my F.Zuiko 50mm or Vivitar 28mm lenses, the film for today was Agfa Vista Plus 200.
We left Venezia on the right day, it was absolutely hammering down although still very warm, and took the train to Firenze. Once again I am in love with Tren Italia, air conditioning, a reserved seat, a just under two hour journey that doesn’t cost a million pounds like in the UK, all great things. What wasn’t so great was the questionable “window seat”, sure there was a window and our seats were next t it, sadly the seats blocked most of the window so you didn’t get to see a huge amount. The photo’s taken of the countryside are mostly of Emilia Romanga, the regione that Bologna is the capital of, as we had to travel through this to get to Toscana, and also because of the hundred or so tunnels that we went through once we did get into Toscana, the Tuscan countryside with its rolling hills obviously weren’t designed with the ease of train travel in mind. what we did see out of the semi window was very pretty, it seems that the rain was only in Veneto as it gave way to blazing sunshine after only a half hour or so on the train. Once we got to Firenze we took a walk to the apartment we had rented, shouldn’t have been a problem as it was only around a twenty minute walk from the station, unfortunately we didn’t know that Florentine streets have two sets of house numbers, one set for businesses and one set for residences. Yes that’s a real thing, look it up because we had to. After standing outside a farmaccia for 10 minutes after ringing the person who was meant to meet us Jo decided to look up the street numbers on Google and that’s how we found out that the apartment was actually the other end of the street. Confusing huh? Anyway the apartment was basic but clean and perfectly fine for our purposes, the main reason I liked it though was the view and how close we were to the centre of the city, seriously for the price we paid I did not expect such a central location. One big issue however was the street cleaners that woke us up at 3/4am, the soundproofing, if there was any, was pretty atrocious in the apartment, luckily it only happened the first night as Jo refused to stay there if the second night was as bad. Again I suppose that’s the price you pay for a central location.Anyway onto the photographs from day four, this day was all taken on Fujifilm C200.
Some of you may be aware I visited Italy a few weeks ago, I turned thirty years old and really did not want to do that in the UK so a holiday to the country whose language I’ve been learning for a while seemed a good idea. Anyway while I was there I got the chance to do a little street photography, since being a tourist people practically ignore you snapping away with your camera, this post has a few of the images I took, there’ll be a lot more to come. As usual all taken on my Olympus OM-D Em-5 and either Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm or M.Zuiko 17mm lenses.