Italy Image Gallery

Italy

Italy is the kind of country where no matter how much time you spend or how many places you visit, you simply need to go back. Whether its the ancient ruins, stunning art and architecture, mouthwatering food and wine or just the slow pace of life in a tuscan village, it always draws you back. Bordered by France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the Mediterranean Sea, Italy is also home to the independent states of San Marino and the Vatican City. All forms of transport are available including train, bus, car, ferry, or low cost flight; its all there to enable you to enhance your travels. Officially known as the Italian Republic, this country provides unlimited ways to spend lots of money and gain life-long memories. Ensure you spend time in Rome, gaze at art in Venice, Genoa or Florence, sample pizza and gelatti and see the ruins of ancient Pompeii. If you can only focus on a few places, start in Rome and work your way North or South, either way you won't cover everything you want but at least you'll have a taste for your return trip.

Rome
Rome
Venice
Venice
Genoa
Genoa
Trentino
Trentino
Florence
Florence
San Gimignano
San Gimignano
Siena
Pompeii
Northern Italian Lake
Siena
Cinque Terre
Northern Italian Lake
Pompei
Cinque Terre
 
 

Image Gallery

Photography by Eric Starling and Renee Martin

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum, Rome
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica, Venice
Venice Sunrise, Italy
Venice Sunrise
Duomo, Florence, Italy
Duomo, Florence
Cinque Terre, Italy
Cinque Terre
San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano
Siena Duomo, Tuscany, Italy
Siena Duomo
Volterra, Tuscany, Italy
Volterra
Castel Toblino, Italy
Castel Toblino
Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa
Island of Capri, Italy
Island of Capri
Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Pantheon, Rome
Herculaneum, Italy
Herculaneum
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome, Italy
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena
San Gimignano Skyline, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline, Tuscany
Siena, Tuscany, Italy
Siena
Venice, Italy
Venice
Fountain, Rome, Italy
Fountain, Rome
Fountain, Rome, Italy
Fountain, Rome
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal, Venice
Baptistery Doors, Florence, Tuscany, Italy
Baptistery Doors, Florence
St Peters Sunset, Rome, Italy
St Peters Sunset, Rome
Venice, Italy
Venice
Genoa, Italy
Genoa
Italian Alps, Italy
Italian Alps
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Castello di Avio, Italy
Castello di Avio
Florence Duomo Backflip, Florence, Italy
Florence Duomo Backflip
Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Tuscany, Italy
Palazzo Pubblico, Siena
Fountain, Verona, Italy
Fountain, Verona
St Peters Backflip, Rome, Italy
St Peters Backflip
Verona at night, Verona, Italy
Verona at night
Trento Fountain, Trento, Italy
Trento Fountain
Pisa Backflip, Pisa, Italy
Pisa Backflip
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Besenello, Italy
Besenello
Genoa, Italy
Genoa
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum, Rome
Genoa Skyline with Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline with Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Colosseum Interior, Rome, Italy
Colosseum Interior
Tuscany Countryside from San Gimignano, Italy
Tuscany Countryside from San Gimignano
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena
View from Tuscany town of Volterra, Italy
View from Tuscany town of Volterra
Italian Alps near the border with Switzerland, Italy
Italian Alps near the border with Switzerland
Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como
Trentino Alto Adige Valley from Castel Beseno, Italy
Trentino Alto Adige Valley from Castel Beseno

Rome

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome, Italy
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum
St Peters Church and Square, Rome, Italy
St Peters Church and Square
The Pantheon, Rome, Italy
The Pantheon
Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
Castel Sant'Angelo
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Trevi Fountain

Rome is one of the most vibrant and unforgettable cities in the world, the city is rich with massive monuments displaying its glorious historical past yet offering a very cosmopolitan and distinctly Italian atmosphere.  Rome is the capital city of Italy as well as the country's largest and most populous at about 4 million people.  Within the city of Rome itself, lays the smallest nation in the world, the State of the Vatican City, the epicenter of Catholicism and the home of the pope.  Referred to as la Città Eterna, "the Eternal City" in Italian, Rome has a long and prosperous history starting in 753 BC.  This is when, according to legend, the city of Rome was founded by the twins Romulus and Remus before going on to become the most powerful empire of the ancient world.  This successful dominance depended on military expansion, commercial predominance, as well as assimilation of any civilization within its realm.  For almost a thousand years, Rome was the richest, largest and most politically important city in the Western world.  Rome offers travellers of all ages and budgets a plethora of things to see and do; whether it be gazing out over the ruins of the mighty Colosseum where men and beasts competed in battles to the death; or standing before the giant doors of St Peters and being dwarfed by one of the most religiously significant buildings on earth; or strolling the streets of Rome and taking in the beautiful city squares adorned with gushing fountains and statues carved by the finest Italian artists over the centuries.  Rome is a repeat destination.  It seems no matter how much time you spend exploring all it has to offer there still remains something important that was missed.

Rome Skyline with St Peters, Rome, Italy
Rome Skyline with St Peters
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy
Piazza Navona
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum
Lateranense Obelisk, Rome, Italy
Lateranense Obelisk
Quirinale Obelisk, Rome, Italy
Quirinale Obelisk
Agonalis Obelisk, Rome, Italy
Agonalis Obelisk
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II, Rome, Italy
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum
Arch of Constantine, Rome, Italy
Arch of Constantine
Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Pantheon
Arch of Septimius Severus, Rome, Italy
Arch of Septimius Severus
Interior of St Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy
Interior of St Peters Cathedral
Rome Skyline, Rome, Italy
Rome Skyline
Interior of Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Interior of Pantheon
Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
Castel Sant'Angelo
Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy
Trevi Fountain
Pantheon, Rome, Italy
Pantheon
View from top of St Peters, Rome, Italy
View from top of St Peters
St Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy
St Peters Cathedral
Interior of St Peters, Rome, Italy
Interior of St Peters
Castel Sant'Angelo and Tiber River, Rome, Italy
Castel Sant'Angelo and Tiber River
Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano, Rome, Italy
Arcibasilica Papale di San Giovanni in Laterano
St Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy
St Peters Cathedral
St Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy
St Peters Cathedral
St Peters Cathedral, Rome, Italy
St Peters Cathedral
St Peters Square, Rome, Italy
St Peters Square
Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy
Spanish Steps
Minerveo Obelisk, Rome, Italy
Minerveo Obelisk
Spanish Steps
Spanish Steps
Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Inside the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Inside the Colosseum

Venice

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Saint Mark's Basilica, Venice, Italy
Saint Mark's Basilica
San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice, Italy
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute

Venice is one of the most picturesque and enchanting cities in the world and is located on the Adriatic Sea in northern Italy.  Venice, often referred to as the 'Queen of the Adriatic', is the capital of the Veneto region and was at one time a major sea power that controlled vast amounts of trade throughout the Mediterranean.  The city is built across an archipelago of over 100 islands in the marshy Venetian Lagoon along the Adriatic Sea.  Within the city there are about 150 canals connected by over 400 bridges.  Due to the wealth generated by trade, the city became a major supporter of art and music.  Venetians also brought back large amounts of plunder and booty during their expansionist period which now adorns major buildings in the city in an almost over the top display.  There is something intangible about Venice that you feel as you get lost strolling the canals or sit in the beautiful Piazza San Marco absorbing a vibe that feels refined elegant and magical.  A trip to Italy just isn't complete without riding a small ferry the length of the grand canal, exploring the lavishly decorated Doje Palace or gazing up at the gold mosaic images in the domed Basilica.  Visit Venice before the threat of rising ocean waters takes this amazing piece of human history away for good.

Palazzo Ducale (Doge Palace), Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale (Doge Palace)
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal
Piazza San Marco (St Marks Square), Venice, Italy
Piazza San Marco (St Marks Square)
Venice Skyline from St Mark's Campanile, Venice, Italy
Venice Skyline from St Mark's Campanile
Canal of Venice, Venice, Italy
Canal of Venice
St Mark's Campanile and Square, Venice, Italy
St Mark's Campanile and Square
Canal of Venice, Venice, Italy
Canal of Venice
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute, Venice, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria della Salute
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
Venice Skyline and dome of St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
Venice Skyline and dome of St Marks Basilica
Venice Waterfront, Venice, Italy
Venice Waterfront
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal
San Giorgio Maggiore Island, Venice, Italy
San Giorgio Maggiore Island
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Piazza San Marco
Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale
Piazza San Marco, Venice, Italy
Piazza San Marco
Venice Canal, Venice, Italy
Venice Canal
Venice Canal, Venice, Italy
Venice Canal
Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
Palazzo Ducale, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale Interior, Venice, Italy
Palazzo Ducale Interior
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
St Marks Basilica, Venice, Italy
St Marks Basilica
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal
Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy
Rialto Bridge
Grand Canal, Venice, Italy
Grand Canal

Genoa

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Genoa Skyline, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline
Building on Via Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy
Building on Via Garibaldi
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza De Ferrari
Chiesa del Gesu, Genoa, Italy
Chiesa del Gesu
Piazza di Ferrari Genoa, Italy
Piazza di Ferrari
Genoa Backflip Genoa, Italy
Genoa Backflip

Genoa is a thriving old world port city that instantly draws you in upon seeing the unique multi coloured buildings and mish mash of medieval and renaissance architecture. Genoa has been inhabited since the 5th century BC. During the Middle Ages, it became a powerful city state that rivaled Venice and facilitated trade all over the Mediterranean. The majority of its prestige and wealth came from this booming period in the city's history. Ornate buildings are impossibly crammed into a narrow warren of streets where they reach five to eight stories high with gutters nearly touching, blocking out the sun. Genoa has so much history built, literally, right into the streets it's mind boggling. Palaces loaded with 500 year old artworks, churches built with two or three different kinds of marble and piazzas with ancient buildings once decorated long ago by a rich merchant, all compete for your attention. The Via Garibaldi with its palaces and the Via San Lorenzo with the churches and marble facades are the easy places to start, then just get lost from there. When you finish looking at the stunning art and architecture, be ready for some serious cuisine to recharge. Genoa has its own special focaccia bread and is the home of pesto for starters. Toss in some gelatti, pizza and fantastic red wine and you will not want to leave.

Genoa Skyline with Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline with Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
The Domes of the Genoa Skyline from Porta Soprana Gate, Genoa, Italy
The Domes of the Genoa Skyline from Porta Soprana Gate
Genoa sidestreet, Genoa, Italy
Genoa sidestreet
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Porta Soprana City Gate, Genoa, Italy
Porta Soprana City Gate
Genoa Building, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Building
Genoa narrow streets, Genoa, Italy
Genoa narrow streets
Via Garibaldi, Genoa, Italy
Via Garibaldi
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Genoa's narrow alleys, Genoa, Italy
Genoa's narrow alleys
Genoa Skyline, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline
Palazzo Ducale (Dojes Palace), Genoa, Italy
Palazzo Ducale (Dojes Palace)
Genoa Skyline, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline
Via Garibaldi Building, Genoa, Italy
Via Garibaldi Building
Genoa Sunset, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Sunset
Via Garibaldi Building, Genoa, Italy
Via Garibaldi Building
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza De Ferrari
Genoa Skyline from Porta Soprana Gate, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline from Porta Soprana Gate
Piazza De Ferrari, Genoa, Italy
Piazza De Ferrari
Genoa Skyline from Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Genoa Skyline from Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo, Genoa, Italy
Cattedrale di San Lorenzo

Trentino Alto Adige Castles

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Castelle di Avio, Avio, Trentino Alto Adige Castles, Italy
Castelle di Avio, Avio
Castel Toblino, Trentino Alto Adige Castles, Italy
Castel Toblino
Besenello Town, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Besenello Town
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello

The mountain valleys north of Verona in the Trentino Alto Adige region are unique with ruined castles, impressive palaces and every kind of fortification you can imagine dotting the landscape. With the possible exception of stretches of the Rhine River in Germany, there are more castles concentrated in this region of Europe than anywhere else. This valley was a key trade route in Roman times but gained even more prominence during the 11th century, as the Holy Roman Empire and then the Austrian Empire took possession of the valleys and routes surrounding Trento. Often known as the "Land of Castles", the area has literally dozens upon dozens of fortresses ranging from romantic ruins to a plush expensive castle converted to a hotel. Some castles tower on peaks and mountain sides above valleys (Castelle di Avio) while others are nestled on the shores of mountain lakes (Castel Toblino). There are battle hardened fortifications (Castel Beseno) and palaces complete with renaissance frescoes (Castello del Buonconsiglio). You will need a car to properly explore most of these locations as the area is not heavily populated and most castles do not have public transport available. Spending at least a couple of days in this area is a must but you will have to spend a week or more to really get a taste of the importance of this area centuries ago.

Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castello di Avio, Avio, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello di Avio, Avio
Trento, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Trento
Castello di Avio, Avio, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello di Avio, Avio
Castel Toblino, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Toblino
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento
View from Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
View from Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castello di Avio, Avio, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello di Avio, Avio
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castel Beseno Backflip, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno Backflip, Besenello
Castel Beseno, Besenello, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Beseno, Besenello
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento
Castello di Avio, Avio, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello di Avio, Avio
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento
Town of Avio, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Town of Avio
Trento, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Trento
Castel Toblino, Trentino Alto Adige, Italy
Castel Toblino

Florence

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Ponte Vecchio
Florence Skyline, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline
Florence and the River Arno, Florence, Italy
Florence and the River Arno

Florence is a stunningly beautiful city in the heart of Tuscany and is world famous for producing some of the finest artists and architects in history.  Florence, or Firenze in Italian, is the capital city of the region of Tuscany and has been located on the Arno River since being founded by Julius Caesar in 59 BC.  A key centre of medieval trade and finance Florence experienced an explosion of artistic, literary, and scientific advancement between the 14th and 16th centuries.  This was due to Florentines' being fixated with money, banking and trade, and displaying their wealth.  During the height of Florence's power the city was ruled by the powerful Medici family.  The Medici's were great patrons of the arts, commissioning works by Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli to name only a few.  Visiting Florence can often be the highlight of any traveller's trip to Italy, whether appreciating some amazing works of art in the massive Uffizi Gallery, hiking the seemingly endless narrow worn stairs to the top of the magnificent Duomo Cathedral, or viewing the beautiful skyline of the city from Piazza Michelangelo while enjoying a rapidly melting gelatti.  Florence will impress you with its magnificence and charm you with its beauty and character.

Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo), Florence, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore (The Duomo)
Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio
Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria
Leonardo Da Vinci, Florence, Italy
Leonardo Da Vinci
Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria
Piazza della Signoria Statue, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria Statue
Duomo, Florence, Italy
Duomo
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio
Florence Skyline from the Duomo, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline from the Duomo
Florence from the Duomo, Florence, Italy
Florence from the Duomo
The Duomo, Florence, Italy
The Duomo
Florence City Walls, Florence, Italy
Florence City Walls
Florence Skyline, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline
Florence Skyline and the River Arno, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline and the River Arno
Piazza della Signoria Statue, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria Statue
Ponte Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Ponte Vecchio
Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy
Palazzo Vecchio
Florence Skyline, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline
Battistero di San Giovanni (Duomo Baptistery), Florence, Italy
Battistero di San Giovanni (Duomo Baptistery)
Piazza della Signoria, Florence, Italy
Piazza della Signoria
Battistero di San Giovanni (Duomo Baptistery), Florence, Italy
Battistero di San Giovanni (Duomo Baptistery)
Florence Skyline from the Duomo, Florence, Italy
Florence Skyline from the Duomo

San Gimignano

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Piazza della Cisterna, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza della Cisterna
San Gimignano Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Tower
View in Piazza del Duomo, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
View in Piazza del Duomo

San Gimignano is a unique walled medieval hilltop town in Tuscany and is famous for its medieval stone skyscrapers that tower above the town and can be seen for miles around.  Located southwest of Florence, San Gimignano was founded as a small village in the 3rd century BC.  The town didn't gain its distinctive skyline until medieval times when rich families competed in the erection of high towers, which served as housing, fortresses, and symbols of prestige.  All around this area of Italy, other towns and cities had similar towers that have disappeared over time due to wars, catastrophes, or urban renewal.  Thirteen towers survive to this day of which one, the Torre Grossa, stands 54 meters high and was completed by 1311.  It is the tallest and the only one that allows access to the top.  The view from above the town is of neighbouring towers backed by the green rolling hills of Tuscany. If you have the time, spend a night in San Gimignano and experience the city after the mobs of day-trippers file out.  Sipping some fine local red wine while enjoying a large slice of pizza in the shadows of these stone towers will be a lasting memory of your trip through Tuscany.

San Gimignano Skyline, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline
San Gimignano Narrow Alley, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Narrow Alley
San Gimignano Double Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Double Tower
View from Palazzo Comunale Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
View from Palazzo Comunale Tower
San Gimignano Narrow Alley, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Narrow Alley
San Gimignano Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Tower
Piazza della Cisterna, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Piazza della Cisterna
Tuscan Vineyard, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Tuscan Vineyard
San Gimignano Skyline, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline
San Gimignano Towers, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Towers
San Gimignano at night, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano at night
San Gimignano Skyline, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline
San Gimignano Double Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Double Tower
San Gimignano Skyline, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Skyline
San Gimignano Towers, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano Towers
Tuscany Countryside from the walls of San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany Countryside from the walls of San Gimignano
Palazzo Comunale Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Palazzo Comunale Tower
View from Palazzo Comunale Tower, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
View from Palazzo Comunale Tower
Double Tower in Piazza del Duomo, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Double Tower in Piazza del Duomo
Tuscan Villa, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Tuscan Villa
San Gimignano, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
San Gimignano
Palazzo Comunale Interior, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy
Palazzo Comunale Interior

Pompeii and Herculaneum

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Renee Martin

Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
Pompeii Backflip, Italy
Pompeii Backflip
Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
Preserved Human Body, Pompeii, Italy
Preserved Human Body, Pompeii
Herculaneum Road, Italy
Herculaneum Road
Temple of Jupiter, Pompeii, Italy
Temple of Jupiter, Pompeii

Pompeii and Herculaneum are two exceptionally well preserved Roman cities in the south of Italy near the modern day city of Naples and Sorrento. The astonishing level of preservation in both of these historical sites is due to the cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius on August 24th 79 AD. Both cities were engulfed in ash and debris with almost no warning, the fallout of ash and resulting pyroclastic flow extinguished all life around the volcano. This horrendous devastation encased the city of Pompeii and its smaller neighbour Herculaneum in up to 25 meters of pumice, ash and volcanic rock over a deadly 6 hour period. The historical record of this eruption was recorded by Pliny the Younger who was across the bay of Naples watching the work of nature unfold. Herculaneum was the first of the 2 cities to be rediscovered in 1738 when workers were preparing foundations for a summer palace for the then King of Naples. Pompeii was found 10 years later in 1748 when a Spanish engineer was intentionally excavating in the area he hoped to find the lost city of Pompeii. Both cities have been progressively excavated since their discovery. The preserved bodies, frescoes, garbage and even sewer contents have provided a complete and vivid picture of Roman society and daily life at that specific moment in history that is without equal anywhere in the world. Pompeii was founded in the 7th century BC, by the time of its destruction Pompeii was a thriving and wealthy port city of the Roman Empire. There are acoustically perfect amphitheatres, colourful vibrant frescoes, a former gladiator colosseum and villas of once wealthy Romans. Herculaneum is almost more valuable than Pompeii for the historical record because unlike Pompeii its burial was so deep it preserved some upper storeys of the towns buildings. The hotter ash preserved wooden household objects like furniture and even food. Herculaneum was also a wealthier town than Pompeii with a large number of fine houses that still boast some stunning frescoes, murals and decorative trimmings to their original structures. Pompeii and Herculaneum are must see sites that gives any visitor the opportunity to step back in time, all the while pondering how you could survive if that giant looming volcano ever went off again.

Temple in Pompeii, Italy
Temple in Pompeii
Mosaic in Herculaneum, Italy
Mosaic in Herculaneum
Main Road, Pompeii, Italy
Main Road, Pompeii
Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
Pillars at Pompeii, Italy
Pillars at Pompeii
Mosaic with phallic symbol, Pompeii, Italy
Mosaic with phallic symbol, Pompeii
The Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, Pompeii, Italy
The Forum with Mount Vesuvius in the background, Pompeii
Roman Villa Ruins, Pompeii, Italy
Roman Villa Ruins, Pompeii
Roman Villa Ruins, Pompeii, Italy
Roman Villa Ruins, Pompeii
View of Herculaneum from above, Italy
View of Herculaneum from above
Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
Herculaneum Statue Head, Italy
Herculaneum Statue Head
Herculaneum Alter, Italy
Herculaneum Alter
Intricate Carvings at Pompeii, Italy
Intricate Carvings at Pompeii
Herculaneum Doorway, Italy
Herculaneum Doorway
Pompeii Gladiatorial Arena , Italy
Pompeii Gladiatorial Arena
Pompeii Front Flip, Italy
Pompeii Front Flip
Pompeii Amphitheatre, Italy
Pompeii Amphitheatre
Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
Herculaneum Private Alter, Italy
Herculaneum Private Alter
Herculaneum Mural, Italy
Herculaneum Mural
The ancient Shoreline at Pompeii, Italy
The ancient Shoreline at Pompeii
Mosaic at Herculaneum, Italy
Mosaic at Herculaneum
View of Herculaneum, Italy
View of Herculaneum
Wealthy Pompeii Villa, Italy
Wealthy Pompeii Villa
Buildings in Pompeii, Italy
Buildings in Pompeii
Human Body in Pompeii, Italy
Human Body in Pompeii
Pompeii Streets, Italy
Pompeii Streets
View of Herculaneum, Italy
View of Herculaneum
Herculaneum Building, Italy
Herculaneum Building
Herculaneum Plaque in Latin, Italy
Herculaneum Plaque in Latin
Herculaneum Shop, Italy
Herculaneum Shop
Herculaneum Statue, Italy
Herculaneum Statue

Siena

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy
Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico
Siena Skyline, Siena, Italy
Siena Skyline
Siena Skyline with Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Siena Skyline with Cathedral
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena

Siena is a beautiful Italian town in the Tuscany region. It often gets overshadowed by its bigger brother Florence but still has enough sites to easily compete and is less hectic with visitors, which gives the city a distinctly provincial feel. The town radiates out in a circular pattern from its stunning epicenter, the Piazza del Campo. This main square is enclosed on almost all sides but can be accessed through tunnels under the beautiful buildings that surround the square. Upon emerging from these passageways, you are greeted with a breathtaking cobbled square that slopes down to the unique Palazzo Pubblico, or town hall. Climbing the Campanile tower is a must to enjoy the stunning views over Siena and the surrounding Tuscan countryside. Like Florence and Venice, Siena had its own school of art called the Sienese School of Painting which flourished during the middle ages. The towns Duomo, or main Cathedral, is unlike anything else in Italy, with its black and white marble facing, you cannot help but be drawn to its beauty but be aware it's one of the only churches in Italy you must pay to go inside. Siena is also famous for its horse race that is ridden bareback, in traditional dress, and has been running since Medieval times. The Palio di Siena is run twice a year around the Piazza del Campo, in July and August, and the city is bursting at the seems during these races due to the popularity. There is nothing else like this race in Italy, so if your interested, make sure you book well in advance. Siena is a fairly easy stop when travelling south from Florence to Rome and is definitely worth the time.

Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo
Fonte Gaia, Siena, Italy
Fonte Gaia
Piazza Salimbeni, Siena, Italy
Piazza Salimbeni
Siena Cathedral, Duomo di Siena, Siena, Italy
Siena Cathedral
Torre del Mangia, Siena, Italy
Torre del Mangia
Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico, Siena, Italy
Torre del Mangia and Palazzo Pubblico
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Siena Cathedral
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Siena Cathedral
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Siena Cathedral
Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena, Italy
Pinacoteca Nazionale
Siena Cathedral, Siena, Italy
Siena Cathedral
Piazza del Campo, Siena, Italy
Piazza del Campo, Siena

Northern Italian Lakes

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como

There are a number of stunning lakes in Northern Italy nestled at the foothills and within the Alps, and two that standout are Lake Garda and Lake Como.
 Lake Garda is only a few hours drive from Genoa, Venice or Milan and acts as the playground for wealthy Europeans and foreign travellers alike. Ultra expensive boats cruise the largest lake in Italy at high speed, taking the rich and famous to-and-from their villa compounds. The ancient fortified town of Sirmione is beautiful, the only land based entrance being a drawbridge next to the castle that funnels hoards of tourists into the perfect, narrow alleys which are packed with restaurants and boutique hotels. Lake Garda is great for a day trip and would be fantastic to spend a week at but you better be ready for some serious spending.
 Lake Como is another lake of glacial origin that is situated right next to the Italian-Swiss border. Widely considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Italy, it offers some narrow winding roads directly beside the lakeshore, backed by towering mountains. The rich and famous also love this stunning location and since Roman times, impressive villas have clung to the steep hillsides, boasting gardens, terraces and statues the average person could only dream of. There are many little towns that line the Y-shaped lake and no matter where you stop or stay, you will be impressed by the views and impressive colour of the lake water. As with Lake Garda, it comes at a hefty price, so day trips can help you budget.

Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Sirmione, Lake Garda, Italy
Sirmione, Lake Garda
Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda
Lake Como, Italy
Lake Como
Lake Garda, Italy
Lake Garda

Cinque Terre

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy
Vernazza, Cinque Terre
Start of the Cinque Terre Trail, Italy
Start of the Cinque Terre Trail
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy
Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre

The Cinque Terre is a group of five coastal villages near the city of La Spezia in the Liguria region of Italy.  The beautiful coastline, the five picturesque villages, and the trails that link them together are all part of a national park that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The Cinque Terre is popular for the hiking trails that link the 5 isolated fishing villages.  These trails offer stunning views of some of Italy's finest Mediterranean coastline, with trails that range from easy and flat to thigh burning stair climbs to narrow winding paths in olive groves perched precariously on cliff tops.  For those who don't want to walk but want the scenery there is a train that runs through a tunnel to each village.  Bring a packed lunch, lots of water and enjoy a bit of exercise to work off all that wine and good food Italy provides while appreciating the beautiful surroundings. 

View over the Med from Cinque Terre Trail, Italy
View over the Med from Cinque Terre Trail
Cliffside Trail, Cinque Terre, Italy
Cliffside Trail, Cinque Terre
View of Cornigilia, Cinque Terre, Italy
View of Cornigilia, Cinque Terre