30U30 | ITALY

Without any exaggeration, Italy is one country that we cannot get tired of visiting. In fact, our last trip to Italy was Avi’s 4th time and Gia’s 2nd time in Rome! So much do we love Italy! The country has everything to offer: history, architecture, and beauty! So sit back and enjoy our Photo Blog from Italy.

We start our Photo Blog of Italy with a structure that stands as the greatest symbol of Rome and Italy – the Colosseum! Although so very popular, the structure was actually the site of death, destruction and cruelty. This 2000 year old amphitheater, that could hold an audience size of 80,000, regularly held gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions and re-enactments of famous battles.
Rome is home to more than 2000 fountains. But one that stands out is the magnificent Fontana di Trevi. Although one of the ‘newer’ fountains (compared to the other famous fountains in St. Peter’s Square and Piazza Novano), this is the grandest of all. With the sculptures and statues (central statue being that of Oceanus, a Greek Titan) sculpted on one of the facades of a building (Palazzo Poli), this fountain has a very distinct look. The Trevi fountain has famously appeared in several movies, including the classic ‘Roman Holiday‘. If you are visiting the fountain, do not forget to bring a few coins to be tossed over your left shoulder while making a wish to make them come true!!
Here is another look at the Colosseum – this time from the inside! Inside, one can marvel at the architecture of the grand structure walking along two circular walking levels running around the Colosseum. It is also possible to see the basement or underground area of the Colosseum. Requiring an additional ticket, in the underground one can see the stacks and tunnels that once held animals and gladiators, hoisting them up through trap doors in the floor to the waiting crowds above.
The Arch of Constantine, in front of the famous Colosseum of Rome, is a masterpiece in itself! It’s a triumphal arch, built in the 4th century to mark the victory of Constantine. Fortunately for us, there were a few clouds above the monuments and a lovely pink sky, which provided us a good photo opportunity that resulted in this image.
Colosseum once again! Although so very popular, the structure was actually the site of death, destruction, and cruelty. This 2000-year-old amphitheater, that could hold an audience size of 80,000, regularly held gladiatorial contests, animal hunts, executions and re-enactments of famous battles.
Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. That’s what this amazing building is!! The Pantheon in Rome was built originally as a Roman Temple, this was converted to a Church centuries later. One of the rarest looking churches, the Pantheon is a round building with a circular dome and an oculus (a circular opening) looking at the sky. Pantheon is an example of how the pagan Roman Empire adopted the religion of Christianity, in order to bring peace to the empire with a largely Christian-dominated (and revolting) populace. By the way, note the pagan, Egyptian Obelisk in front of Pantheon. One of the exciting points for us was when we discovered that the Pantheon also houses the tomb of the great Raphael, the great Renaissance painter famous for painting the Raphael Rooms in the Vatican City (including the amazing ‘School of Athens‘) and who formed the trinity of Renaissance great masters along with Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.
Florence – the city of art, the birthplace of the Renaissance, and the home of the Masters like Michelangelo, Raphael, da Vinci, Dante, Vasari, Florence Nightingale and many more!! Not one single image can capture the beauty and essence that Florence cradles. However, we mortals can only try. The crowning jewel of the city is the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (or the Florence Cathedral). The construction of the Cathedral began in the 13th Century and was completed a couple of centuries later. With its famous red-tiled dome (designed by Brunelleschi), the Cathedral proudly stands tall, overlooking the beauty around.
In the last image, we saw the crowning jewel of the city, Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore (or the Florence Cathedral) from afar. Although the image of the huge Dome towering over the city is the most famous visualization of the Cathedral, one has to get real close to appreciate the intricate art on its facade. The facade of white marble, that proudly displays several statutes, was collectively designed by several sculptors through the ages (with sculptors working on the facade till as late as the mid-19th century). The white, green and red marble forms a harmonious entity with the cathedral that stands out distinctly from the pastel-colored houses around. oh, by the way, a small continental breakfast around this place is highly recommended – a fairly priced meal with a priceless view!! Photography advice – The Piazza del Duomo or the Cathedral Square is a bit cramped up place. With the large Baptistery directly in front of the Cathedral face, one cannot get a picture of the place from the front. As this image here, you can get an image from an angle but you need a decent wide-angle lens. I took this picture with a 24-70 mm lens (on my Full Frame DSLR), but would definitely recommend something wider.
Through all the years of our travelings, we have seen and photographed a lot of bridges – long, metallic, spanning across wide rivers. But then, one of the most memorable one always has been our first visit and photograph of the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge. This bridge is extremely unique, as this bridge has small shops along the sides – which were historically occupied by butchers and goldsmiths, but today it is occupied by souvenir sellers. Constructed across the river Arno, the pastel colored structure is a one of its kind architecture! By the way, we had seen something similar to this in the movie ‘Perfume‘ but always thought it was great piece of fictional architecture. But as it turns out, Ponte Vecchio was the inspiration for the bridge shown in the movie. You must check out its images here (https://www.behance.net/gallery/11355515/Perfume-the-story-of-a-murderer-residential-bridge)
A shot of the Cathedral of Florence, from a different angle! The Cathedral, along with the bell tower or the Campanile (designed by the famous Giotto) seen on the left of the image and the Baptistery, are a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Piazza del Duomo or the Cathedral Square is immensely crowded throughout the year. To get the best view of the Cathedral from a wide angle, we recommend a walk up to the Piazzale de Michelangelo.
Palazzo Vecchio! This palace, which is currently the Townhall of Florence is a lane’s walk from the Cathedral! It’s entrance is flanked by two majestic statues on either side, one of which is a copy of Michelangelo’sDavid‘. Across it is an additional gallery of statues. Right ahead of it is the Ufizi Gallery, which then opens up to the Ponte Vecchio. The entire area starting from the Cathedral is an overwhelming experience of beauty, history and architecture
A re-look at the most unique bridge we have come across, the Ponte Vecchio of Florence. Does it look familiar? Maybe you have seen it in the movie ‘Perfume‘. Ponte Vechio was the inspiration for the bridge in the movie (Pictures here: https://www.behance.net/gallery/11355515/Perfume-the-story-of-a-murderer-residential-bridge)

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