A few thoughts about my Italian trip.
1. Having travelled so much thru Italy North of Rome I am not sure sure what I expected. We found ourselves in a lot of Italian, seashore, resort communities. That’s where the places to eat and stay are in that part of the world and unless you’re into the agrotourism scene that’s what you’ll find. For the five days we were in Sicily I thought finding Greek ruins would be easier and especially ones that were not so touristed but that was not the case, perhaps I should have done more extensive research. I am pretty much done with visiting Roman and Greek amphitheaters honestly from a photo standpoint they are just not that interesting.
2. Mt. Etna was a very cool place and gets you in touch with the forces of nature, Rosemary really wants to go to Hawaii now. With the limitation of how the tours go there, its a hard place to photograph, especially if you’re a hard core landscape person, which we all know I am not. Also working at 9,000 feet of elevation is a real consideration.
3. Naples and Sicily in my mind prior to the trip really had me worried about crime and especially getting my camera or rental car stolen or broken into. Now I don’t think its any worse than anyplace else in Italy, you gotta be careful and aware but its not like Rome where I think crime is much more of an issue. Rosemary said she felt safer in Naples than downtown STL.
4, Having done a short week in Sicily I think I’m good now and don’t feel any strong desire to get back there. I can see myself returning to Florence or the far north of the country but I think I got enough of the that place. The Amalfi coast was fine but its really a resort/tourist experience and that comes from someone who likes Venice and Florence.
5. I always said for the most part, its easy to take advantage of public transportation in Tuscany and the North. I thought that might be true of the south but its not, a rental car is important but its also a hassle to park and the mountain roads are not for the faint hearted. It can be a challenge but so many places are just not well served as they are in the north by trains or busses.
6. I did the $10 a day Verizon international phone plan for two weeks and it worked well enough, but if I went back for a longer trip I think the cost is not worth it. I was in a group of 5 of us and group communication became an issue. I keep wandering off to photograph and often had to call and reform with the pack.
7. For an October trip in the south I used all the clothes I took with me with the exception of my beach sandals and bathing suit, if I would have done it again, I’d have taken along more long sleeve shirts with me, lots of cool nights are the higher elevations or along the coast. Still my minimal packing plan worked for me.
8. An observation of sorts about places to stay, Ikea has the AirB&B, Bed and Breakfast, and small places to stay market all sewn up, if you do not like that kind of furniture or kitchen gear you’re not going to like it there as that it seems is all you’ll find. I was surprised that the AirB&B market was so entrenched there, and of course some better than others but lots to choose from and most of them were pure income places, it was clear no one really lived in any of the places stayed, they were all full time AirB&B’s.
9. Lastly a gear note, I am a compulsive over packer in terms of photo gear but this trip I decided on one body, my Nikon Z7 and two zooms, a 24-70 and a 14-30. It worked great and I ended up using the 14-30 more than anything else.
So in the end the trip did manage to scratch my itch to return to Italy, it had been 4 years since I was last there and I felt like I needed to reconnect with the place. I will return again in a few years now both Rosemary and I want to concentrate on traveling in the USA for a while.
Thats the final Italy report now to work thru the images and get over my jet lag, and oh yes, more more thing, somehow I managed to loose a pound in weight! The Medditerrian diet works!