An Italian itinerary for Rome, Umbria, and Tuscany
Day 1: Rome
Ristorante Il Secchio
Since we haven’t really eaten anything for what seems like a very, very long time (breakfast on the plane was inedible), once we have settled into our room a bit and taken a very short nap it is time to find some lunch.
We end up just down the street at Ristorante Il Secchio where the most perfect, amazing noodles are accompanied by the house wine, snippets of the surrounding city, and the frequent passage of the city’s (very quiet) street cars.
Around our neighborhood
Day 2: Ancient Rome
Day 3: Roaming in Rome
Triton Fountain in Piazza Barberini
Every tourist goes to Trevi Fountain, but it is pretty cool.
Ancient Rome at Night
Day 4: The Vatican
Day 5: A side trip into the country
Day 6: On to Orvieto
Someone walking by just commented to his girlfriend that this is a train unlike any he’s ever seen before. I think he was referring specifically to the complete lack of luggage racks, but he could as easily be referring to the complete lack of signage. The board along the track said this was the train to Firenze (Florence), but there is no train number on our ticket or posted on the train itself and none of the maps inside the train actually list the route we think we are on. . .
I really thought, after taking trains in Germany, Finland, and Sweden that I had this figured out. Surprise!
The realities of travel in Europe. There is so much I don’t know.
Settling into Orvieto
Day 7: Photo class begins
After the storm: Morning dawns in Orvieto
The wind howled most of the night, screeching as it forced its way under the door to our room and into the hall. We closed the windows just as the thunder and lightening came.I thought about getting out my tripod and taking pictures of the lightening from the window, but it was four in the morning and I hadn’t slept very well up until that point. . . .
The storm passed by the time we got up.
Morning clouds crept down toward the valley, they began to dissipate before they really even had a chance to settle in.
The beginning of another perfect day in Italy.
I’m here for a week-long Traveler’s Eye Workshop photo class.
I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple years now, but in the last few days I’ve become pretty nervous. I hate having anyone see my work in progress (any type of work – photography, writing, gardening, you name it) because at that point it is clear how messy the process is, but not at all clear anything good will come of it. Now I’m going to have to let a couple of really good photographers see that. Scary.
So, while this sounded really fun when Chris and I discussed it over drinks in my back yard, now I’m worried. Of course, it’s too late to change my mind and I have met everyone and they all seem nice, so here we go. . .
There are two instructors leading the workshop:
- Chris Welsch is a casual friend. I’ve long been a fan of both his photography and travel writing from the days when he was with the Star Tribune. Last winter I took a weekend class from him and learned a lot while having a very good time. He is talented, kind, intelligent, and a pleasure to be around, so I am looking forward to spending time with him.
- Richard Sennott, on the other hand, is pretty much an unknown to me. Despite being regularly published in the Star Tribune, I’d not really been aware of his work until Chris started talking about this workshop. However, I have since figured out that Rick takes amazing people pictures (which intrigues me because that is something I am very bad at) and Chris is clearly fond of him, both of which seem like good signs.
This is the inaugural run for this workshop, so there are only two other students joining me (Maury and Rich) and one other trailing spouse (Laura) for Lane to hang out with. It is a small group, but a good one I think.
I haven’t taken many photo classes (a couple semesters in Junior/Senior High, a darkroom course right after college, and Chris’ class last winter), so I’m not really sure what to expect.
Nor have I taken the time to consciously prepare for this week. (Chris sent a few homework assignments in advance, which I haven’t gotten to yet.) However, while in Rome, I found myself thinking about how to apply some of the lessons from that winter class. I’ve even allowed a few people to creep into my shots, which is highly unusual for me, but something Chris kept encouraging. (I will wait an almost indefinite amount of time for everyone to get OUT of my shot, while Chris kept trying to convince me that I should instead wait for people to move IN and do something interesting. It’s a concept I am having trouble grasping.) Anyway, it seems that, without really trying, I have perhaps begun preparing for this week.
Now it is time to get started.
Photographing Orvieto’s church
This is Going to be Really Hard
Along the way back I come across Rick and Rich standing in a doorway, intently shooting something in the street that is not obvious to me. I stop by to see what’s up, but seem to be in the way (I still can’t see what they are shooting) so continue on. I don’t get far though before Rick catches up to me and invites me to come back so he can show me what he is doing.
What he has found is a good “frame” for a scene (using some empty tables and a couple of menu boards) with people moving through. Despite a careful explanation, I feel like I only sort of get what it is he is seeing.
My images make it clear that I don’t get it – their shots look like something from a fancy travel magazine, mine are boring:
Oh well. I’m here to learn, right?
Then We Come Across a Wedding
Evening View from the Convent
Day 8: Off to a dramatic hill town
Photographing Civita di Bagnoregio
Scenes from along the Road
In the Rose Garden
The convent has a rose garden. I’ve only been here twice to take pictures (and then only for a few minutes while waiting for the others), but each time Chris threatens to ban me from taking any more pictures of flowers.
I don’t believe he’ll do it.
On to the day’s assignment
Or not. I actually spend most of my day just exploring.
- Searching for a Location
- Cleaning Day in a Magical, Mysterious Place
- Back to the Day’s Assignment
- Orvieto from Above
- Just Wandering
Day 10: September 22
Morning View from Our Window
Day 11: Markets and Vineyards
Day 12: Ancient architecture in Orvieto
Day 13: Leaving Orvieto for Florence
This, our last morning in Orvieto, we are greeted by light rain and heavy fog.
Sister Giovanna tells us (in Italian) that the sky is crying because we are leaving.
Some sentiments don’t need translating. (Of course, Giovanna is also a master at making herself understood even without a shared language.) Besides, I like the idea that Orvieto might miss us as much as we will miss it.
It has been a good week and I am sad to have to say good-bye.
A balcony with a garden view in Florence
Our room at the Hotel Annalena opens onto a plant-filled balcony that overlooks a private garden.
I’m not sure I’ll want to leave long enough to explore the rest of Florence!
Introduction to Florence
Despite the temptation to just sit on the balcony, we decide to explore a bit. We begin at the Ponte San Trinita and the surrounding streets.It is a lovely evening, busy with other people out enjoying the evening.
Day 14: Florence
Day 15: Sept 27
Day 16: Sept 28, Sept 29 . . .
From the Mountains to the Coast (October 3)
It is a stunningly beautiful morning as we leave Trevi.
We drive down through the olive groves, wishing we had more time to explore here.
Actually, there are a lot of places we would like to have time to explore. There are interesting-looking towns everywhere and, even in our relatively short drive across the country to the sea, the landscape changes dramatically.
And there are other interesting sights along the way as well.
What a lovely day!
Do we really have to leave?