Italian Sunsets

Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy at sunset taken by Karen Campbell, Photographer in 2015
Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy at sunset

Back in 2015, a friend and I planned a trip to travel around Italy starting in Milan. We met up in Milan since we took separate airlines–this made for quite a mix up and learning experience. Finding the “hotel” in Milan was a puzzle since it did not have a front entrance like American hotels. The office was in another location nearby and they would only give out one key to the room (which they didn’t tell me when I took the key). My friend arrived quite a bit later and we were having much difficulty connecting via text or phone call in order to plan or connect at all. I stayed at the hotel for probably two to three hours to rest after having a major headache and even nausea on the airplane – probably due to lack of water on the long flight. It had been many years since I had taken a long international flight, and, I didn’t expect to have motion sickness or whatever it was that was exceedingly intense on my system.

Long story short, after resting for hours at the hotel and not know when my friend would arrive (or that there was only one hotel key), I went and walked around parts of the city for about an hour until I heard from my friend. We had a tough time finding each other and meeting up, and finally, they gave her another key. That was a crazy entrance into Italy plus it was raining that day so, I was out walking around in the rain looking for the hotel in Milan and touring.

The next morning, we realized the error of our trip planning on both our parts and sort of shrugged it off while finding our way back to the Milan train/bus station. From there, we took off on a train to Lake Como for about three days to enjoy the food, beautiful people, incredible views, and amazing fairy and boat rides around the lake region. It is one of the prettiest places I have visited in a long time (probably since my trip to Switzerland in high school). From Lake Como, we boarded another train to Cinque Terre on the northwestern coast. We saw a lot of colorfully painted buildings, ate scrumptious food, dove into deep blue waters near the rocky coast for a refreshing cool down. We also walked all around the train linked small towns for several days and went into food and gift shops to visit with people and buy presents for our trip back.

Then, I made a fast diversion from my friend to visit the city of Pisa to see the leaning tower. I didn’t plan this and should have done my homework since it was not a small town at all but a major metropolitan city and, of course, the lines to get to go into the church, baptistry, and leaning tower were miles long with tourists from all over the world! Again, I realized my lack of planning and got back on the train and went to the wonderful town of Siena in the Tuscany region to meet up with my friend again at a gorgeous bed and breakfast she found just outside of the city. Siena was an incredibly beautiful place and lots of history to read up on and take it. We also visited many little towns around Siena via a scooter tour. That was probably the highlight of our trip–although, one man on the scooter tour crashed his scooter after a visit to a winery! Maybe too much wine? Ooops! He was okay but, he got charged a pretty penny (about $500) for the damage to the scooter.

After Siena, we went to Florence, a place I have wanted to visit since I was a teenager when I saw a movie that was mostly based in Florence, Italy. At the plethora of museums, I saw amazing works of art such as “David” (Michelangelo’s famous sculpture and his other sculptures that were partially finished maybe on purpose). I also saw, The Birth of Venus, famous painting by Botticelli and thousands more incredible sculptures and paintings.

I walked all around Florence to discover the various districts, ate more amazing food and just took in the soul of the city–many shops, artwork, restaurants, churches (basilicas). I loved going into the massive, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore, in Florence. I went up into the tower and looked out over all of Florence and went up into the domed roof of the main part of the basilica as well.

The Tuscany region really stands out but, every place had its “special Italian sauce.” We were there about three days, and then, I finally took the train separately down to Rome by myself since my friend needed to get back to the USA—she had already been to Rome on her previous trip to Italy. Rome was big and wowed me in its unique way with the Roman forum, colosseum, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, museums, Vatican City, parks, shopping, restaurants and–even more gelato!

It was a very special trip, and, I’m so glad I had taken that time to get away to visit another country–especially Italy! I had always wanted to go there, and, I would love to visit again someday. Life sweeps by at such a fast pace, so, you have to get out and see the world if you can take the opportunity.

Inspired by the great paintings I saw in the museums, I decided to take pictures of Italy’s beautiful sunsets! Here are two of them—one in Lake Como looking out over some mountains (below), and the other (above), in Florence from the Ponte Vecchio (bridge) looking over the famous Arno River (a place used in the famous Puccini opera, Gianni Schicchi -“O mio babbino caro” (aria). I didn’t throw myself in the arno like the lady (Lauretta) sings in the aria. I just took pictures! Many of the pictures I have taken on vacations jump out at me. They beg me to capture them for the memory books, so, I have learned to be ready and was easily inspired by these beautiful surroundings.

Lake Como, Italy at sunset
Lake Como in Varenna, Italy on a patio looking towards the lake at sunset.

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