Italy, Part One: Places

I'm back! We recently returned from an incredible trip to Italy, and this is the first post (of at least 3) about it. Both my wife and I have relatives there (mine are in Sicily, and hers are in a small town a few hours from Rome). I think we started planning this trip last year, and for the most part everything went very smoothly! Besides our family, my wife's sister-in-law and her 2 daughters came along. And, before I go any further, a big thanks to my wife and sister-in-law for all of the hard work they did planning! My oldest son turned 6 during the trip which was way cool. My 3 year old was fun too, considering that we had several long days of sightseeing.

We flew into Rome and stayed for a night, and then headed to Sicily, followed by Pompeii, Sorrento, Capri, Venice, Fabriano, Assisi, Orvieto, and finally Rome again for one night before we flew home. I also drove in Sicily and from Venice through the end of the trip, which was insane! In parts of Italy, things like traffic lights and stop signs are more recommendations than requirements.

I travelled with a very minimal kit - just a camera body, a 580 ex flash, a 50mm lens, and a 16-35mm lens (which I hardly ever used, especially once something startled to rattle on the inside of it). I ended up shooting about 2,000 images, which worked out to about 35 GB (I was shooting plenty of images at 21 MP for a project I want to do later). I probably could have shot more, but it's the classic tradeoff between shooting and seeing things with the family. I had a couple 'I am going to shoot for an hour' opportunities though, so it worked out well. I didn't have a laptop, so I backed up everything to an Epson portable drive.

Let's start off with a few Rome shots:

In Sicily, we visited my relatives plus got a chance to drive halfway up Mt. Etna. It's a cool volcano - still having eruptions every now and then. Here you can see some older lava flows:

After Sicily, we took an overnight ferry to Sorrento. Here's a shot from the hotel:

You can see Mt. Vesuvius here:

Capri is an incredible island off the coast of Italy. Besides having a lot of cool stores and restaurants on the island itself, you can have a lot of fun around the island, checking out the rock formations, the fabulous colored grottos, and more:

They have a cable car that goes to the very top which is awesome! The view is incredible and peaceful:

Here is the famous Blue Grotto, which is a cave on the outside of the island. To get in, you literally have to lay down in a boat while the boat driver maneuvers into a little hole. Once inside, the water glows blue because light is coming underneath the entrance:

After Capri/Sorrento, we headed up to Venice:

I got lost quite a few times walking around there. Thankfully, a cool navigation app saved me (more on that in a later post).

Leaving Venice, we drove down to the Fabriano region (where my wife's relatives are). We came across this cool castle museum that had an incredible view out the front door:

Who wouldn't want to walk out to that everyday?

Our last stop was in Orvieto, which has an absolutely incredible church. It's also massive. Here's a shot looking at the entrance:

So there you go - the first post on the big trip. Next up, I'll show you some of the fun times we had (including an incredible birthday party for Brandon), and later on I'll post some iPhone pictures.