Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Italian Apps...

I can remember, and this wasn't too long ago, when the best thing we had going for us when traveling was being able to print out driving directions on our computer. I used to travel extensively in Canada, and did that more times than I could count. One of the guys I worked with bought a GPS unit, but it was over $600, and Taylor Guitars wasn't too eager to let their sales reps spend so much money on what was, at least at the time, little more than a pricey gadget.

Only a little over ten years later, though, and our technology age has made traveling a whole lot easier than it was not long ago. Long gone are the days when you'd have to get to the airport early to check in only to find out that your flight's been delayed. These days, every single airline in existence has an app where you can check in, check flight status, etc. 

Of course, those aren't the only apps a traveler can benefit from. In this entry I'll cover a few of the ones I've found that I'll be using in Italy. Some of these can be used anywhere, and they're bound to make various aspects of your traveling a little smoother.


1. MAPS.ME




I first became familiar with this app when I went to Ireland in August of 2018, and it's incredibly simple to use. Download the free app, which is available for Android, iOS and BlackBerry (does anyone still use a BlackBerry?) and then update the app with maps as you need them. It works offline, and it works well. You can search a location by address or, better yet, by simply calling it what it is. Want to go to the Vatican? Well, alrighty then. The hyper-accurate map at your fingertips will show you where to go.





2. RGPS

I've talked about this app in a previous entry, but it's so good it bears repeating. RGPS stands for "Really Great Photo Spots". Used in conjunction with Maps.me, it can really open up your potential photographic possibilities. Even if you have no idea if there's anything photo worthy near you (which could be the case during a drive to the Amalfi Coast or to Terni), this app will let you know what's nearby and it will even show you pictures of it. This app makes it a bit easier to get off the beaten path.





3. Waze (Well, maybe)

I absolutely love using Waze here in the States. It's a great GPS app. But, if you choose to use it, beware the caveat: It uses data on your phone. How much? Depends on your carrier and what kind of plan you have. My understanding is that GPS often fails in Italy, simply because two different roads having the same name isn't unusual. 




When I went to Ireland, I purchased an international plan for my phone. This could address the data issue (I didn't use Waze in Ireland), but I'm not sure. Check with your carrier (I'm going to check with mine) to find out for sure.If it works, and isn't cost prohibitive, having a familiar app at your disposal could prove to be a godsend.



4. ROME

I know, this one almost seems too obvious. But the fact of the matter is that it's chock full of information and travel tips. For instance, if you only had, say, five days to spend in Rome it will lay out an itinerary of all the things you can do in Rome in those five days. I probably won't spend too much time playing with this one until I get to Italy, but it certainly looks like it could make things a bit easier if I'm wondering what to do next.







5. Foursquare

Foursquare has been around for a while, and with good reason. It's a solid resource when you want to find your way around town; any town. Whether you're trying to figure out where to get your next meal, where to go shopping or where to go out on the town once the sun goes down, this is a great app to have.




The nice thing about Foursquare is that it works everywhere. I'm in the preliminary phases of planning trips to Scotland, Portugal and Moscow and this app will be going with me.


6. ZonzoFox

This app is similar to Foursquare, but with some differences. First, unlike Foursquare, this app isn't free. In fact, as apps go, it's pretty expensive; $13.99. Also, unlike Foursquare, it doesn't work everywhere. So, if it's similar to Foursquare, is expensive and won't work everywhere, why bother?

Fair question.

While this is specific to Italy, there's nowhere in Italy it doesn't work. Regardless of where you want to go, what you want to do, what you want to eat or what you want to see, this app has more information than you could ever possibly hope to absorb. The way I see it, at fourteen bucks, it's a worthwhile investment for me since I'm going to be traveling both north, south and east while in Italy (not a whole lot of "west" to be had from Rome).




Of course, if you don't want to drop fourteen large for the app, when you first download it you get the trial version. It's fully featured, but it only lasts for five days. This would be perfect for someone who'll be in Italy for only a few days.


Between now and the time I get to Italy I'm sure I'll be made aware of even more apps which could be beneficial during my trip. Who knows? Maybe I can find a "best pizza" app for when I go to Naples (pizza was invented in Campania, near Naples).

In addition to those above, I've already downloaded a host of photography apps like Light Meter and Magic Hour. The light meter app is pretty self-explanatory but, if you're not sure what significance the "magic hour" has for a photographer, I wrote about it, and the app for it, back in December. You can read about it here: Magic Hour.

See, the way I see it is that, in this day and age, there's not a single reason not to avail yourself of all that information that's flying through the ether into your phone. Someone has taken the time to compile all of this wonderful information and make it available (sometimes, yes, for a price), so why not take advantage of that?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

What To Pack?

There's always a part of me that likes to think I can pull off something like the Italy trip with just a carry-on. I used to work with a woman who would travel throughout Europe for three weeks with just a carry-on, so it can't be that tough, right?

Yeah, right.

No, I'll be going with the big suitcase for this trip, as I did for the Ireland trip. Before that trip I bought the TPro Bold "Spinner" by TravelPro. It was expensive, but worth it. List price on it is $399. I bought mine for $239, but you can find them pretty easily for around $200 these days. They're far and away superior to anything you'll find at Target or Wally World. It expands, it's got pockets galore, and there seem to be handles all over the thing. I've used this to go to Ireland, Seattle, San Francisco and New York, and I think this was money well spent.

Also, the important thing to keep in mind isn't what you'll be packing to go on your trip, but rather what you're going to be packing when you come home. When I left Dublin in August I would've been hard-pressed to get anything else in my suitcase because of the amount of space taken up by souvenirs. Remember this when packing for a trip: It's not only a question of space, but also of weight. The fee for a suitcase that weighs too much can be astronomical.

 

So, suffice it to say, I'll be packing way too much stuff; I always do. The only exception was when we went to Ireland. I thought I'd packed enough socks and underwear and, in fact, I had. Barely. Had the trip lasted another day, though, I'd have been washing socks in the bathroom sink.

Now, one of the things I have to take into consideration is that my carry-on bag is going to hold all of my camera equipment, my computer, power cords, chargers, etc. I'm not going to want to lug all of that stuff all over Italy. So, I'll have to pack a camera bag into my suitcase so I'll have it to use once I'm there. I used a backpack in Ireland and I wasn't quite happy with it.

For my camera gear, I'll be packing the Canon 200DG. It let's me carry a camera body and up to four lenses, as well as batteries, memory cards, a remote release and a small travel tripod. It's a good, sturdy bag that handles the rigors of the road well.



I'll take the foam partitions out and lay them flat in my suitcase and fill the suitcase with socks, underwear and what have you. That should help mitigate the amount of usable room it takes up.


My carry-on will be the Tamrac Cyberpro Express that I bought about 12 years ago. I suppose I could justify treating myself to a new bag, but this one's hangin' tough, it's still in great shape and it's still getting the job done. It's going to be carrying pretty much everything I'll need while getting from Jacksonville to Rome, and on larger planes and international flights fitting it into an overhead bin is a breeze. 

This bag has been a monster for me, and has proven itself to be well worth the $270 I paid for it way back when. The takeaway from this is don't skimp on the bags you put your camera gear in! This bag has cost me $22.50 per year, or $1.88 a month, and it's been a powerhouse! The bottom line is that, when you're standing at the cash register, bags like this aren't inexpensive, but they're definitely worth it.







So, what am I going to be packing into that bag?

Well, most importantly, it'll be carrying my camera gear. This is a full-on photo excursion, so I don't really want to skimp on the gear I'm bringing. I don't know when I'll find myself in Rome again, so I want to make sure I've got what I'll need while I'm there so I don't miss out on any shots.

First and foremost will be the Canon 6D MKII. This is the camera I took to Ireland and it performed flawlessly. The nicest thing about it is how well it works at high ISO's. I'm going to guess that a lot of the indoor shots I'll want to take will be in locations where lighting is a challenge. This body works really well in that environment.

I won't have this particular lens...


Next will be the "workhorse" lens. In this case, it's going to be the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L which will just be coming back from being serviced, cleaned and calibrated by Canon. Lenses just don't get a lot better than this, and the f/2.8 will mean that I won't have to wrestle with the available light as much, nor will I have to boost my ISO as high as I would with a slower lens. This lens is nicknamed "The Brick", and for good reason. It does, however, produce stellar results, so it's a no-brainer to bring this one.






The other short zoom I'm going to bring is the 17-40mm f/4L. The nice thing about this, despite being an f/4, is the wider focal range. It worked well for me in Ireland, especially inside the cathedrals. While I had to boost my ISO, I was boosting it on the 6D MKII which handles that well.


 



Now, since I'll be traveling alone, I don't know that I'll really have a need for a "portrait" lens. Even still, I'm going to pack the Canon 50mm f/1.4. It's about as boring a focal length as you can get, but it's an amazing little piece of glass which can produce some wonderful images. It also doesn't take up a lot of room, so I figure it'll be better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

 




I don't know that I'm going to need a longer zoom than what I already plan on bringing. I have two to choose from; the 70-200mm f/2.8L and the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II. I'll knock around that idea for a while before deciding.

Now, as I'm hoping to be able to do some night shooting, I'm going to want to have a tripod at my disposal. Unfortunately, my carbon fiber Manfrotto tripod (which, interestingly enough, is made in Italy) would just be too much, so enter the Slik Mini-Pro table top tripod.


Despite its small size, this ting can hold a lot of weight. While I would foresee using this primarily with the G7X MKII, it'll also handle the weight of my DSLR with the 17-40mm. Of course, if you want to get nice, sharp nighttime photos, the tripod is only half of the equation. You'll also want a remote shutter release.

For the 6D MKII, I use the Canon RS-803N. It's a wired remote that minimizes the possibility of camera shake while taking a picture. At just under $50, it's a worthwhile investment if you want to do any type of night time or macro photography.




I'm also going to be packing my Canon G7X MKII. I used to use the Canon G12, but it was a bit on the bulky side. I picked this one up a few months ago on the used market and, I must say, it's pretty awesome. Unbeknownst to me, it's a ridiculously popular choice among "vloggers" (of which I am not one). I was informed of this by my daughter (who is one). I'm sure I'll shoot some video during my trip, and I may even dabble with video editing, as well.

Why am I bringing this? Well, there will be times when I won't want to be lugging the 6D MKII around; say, when going to dinner or just wanting to walk through a market square or something. The G7X MKII is a superb choice for this.



As for a remote release for this camera, there's an app in the Apple Store and Google Play which allows you to connect your phone to the camera. I've yet to figure out how it works, but I will.

Now, one of the biggest concerns I had when I was in Ireland was my phone maintaining a charge. It's not like I was making a lot of phone calls from the Emerald Isle but, when I was lucky enough to have access to wifi, it was nice to be able to check in on social media and, maybe, even include a photo or two. For that reason, I'll be bringing along two "power banks".

When these first came out, they weren't cheap. I think the first one I ever saw retailed for almost $100, and the first one I ever bought was about $40. Now, though, they've become so commonplace that they're often given away as promotional items. I have one that I got while doing a shoot at Jaguar of Jacksonville and the other (and admittedly slimmer and easier to carry) one I got this past January at the Mecum Auction in Kissimmee. I have the iPhone Xr, so battery life is rarely an issue as it is. Having these at my disposal will allay any fears I may have about my phone running out of juice before I get to my hotel at the end of the day.



Power banks. Don't leave home without 'em...

Now, aside from the camera gear and the power banks, I'll be loading my laptop into my carry-on. When I use it at home I have a wireless keyboard and mouse, but I'll be leaving the keyboard at home and will just be bringing a logi wireless mouse to use with the Toshiba Satellite C75D.




Now, along with all of this stuff will be all of the associated cords and other paraphernalia which I'll need to operate them. I'll have to bring voltage converters, battery chargers, a phone charger, etc. As I probably won't need the battery chargers before I get to Italy I'll pack those in my suitcase to save space in the Tamrac. I don't have any layovers in Europe (my only layover is in Charlotte, NC), so I won't need a power converter during the trip. These, too, will go into the suitcase.

I'll also pack a notebook for taking notes while I shoot. I've tried doing voice annotation on my phone but it just never seems to work out as well as I'd hoped. The other two things I'll put in my carry-on are a toothbrush and a pair of socks, just in case I get delayed in Charlotte or diverted to some random European city. Nothing makes you feel better than brushing your teeth and putting on fresh socks.

As it sits right now, that's what I'll be packing. Of course, that's likely to change eleventeen times between now and April 8th, but I guess that's part of the fun!







Thursday, January 31, 2019

Beyond Rome...

As much as Rome will offer some pretty unparalleled photo ops, the reality is that there's an entire country beyond Italy's capitol city. While it's naive of me to think I can see everything, I do want to make sure I visit a variety of places and experiences a variety of different things.

After spending two days on a "hop on/hop off" bus, it'll be nice to sit behind the wheel and get on the road. My understanding is that, even though driving through the countryside is not as hectic as it is in Rome, one must still exercise a bit more caution than normal. Apparently, Italians are lunatic drivers.

Thank God for that $11 a day full coverage insurance on the Citroen!

So, much in keeping with my blog entry for what I intend to see in Rome, I'll do the same for those areas outside the borders of the Eternal City.


1. Pescara

My main reason for visiting Pescara is simply because it's on the Adriatic Sea, and I've never been to the Adriatic Sea. It's a little over a two hour drive to the northeast and promises to offer sites that are much different than Rome. It's not really a "tourist town". The old part of Pescara is essentially two short parallel streets of typical Italian houses. Traffic is well regulated into the city, and many of the smaller streets are reserved only for pedestrians.





2. The Amalfi Coast

The Amalfi Coast is a 50-kilometer stretch of coastline along the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region. It’s a popular holiday destination, with sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel-colored fishing villages. It's about a 3-1/2 hour drive from Rome, so I may end up doing an overnight trip when I go. The drive is supposed to be, well, "challenging", but I'm not swayed.

 


3. Naples/Pompei

Located a bit further south than the Amalfi Coast, Naples is the third largest city in Italy, following Rome (the largest) and Milan in northern Italy. One of the most imposing landmarks in the city is the Castel Nuovo, built in the year 1279. Looking at photos online, I definitely want to photograph this place.



Pompeii was an ancient city not far from Naples. In the year 79 AD it was buried and preserved in ash and pumice after the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. It's now a world heritage site and sees over 2.5 million visitors a year. That's more than 6,800 a day, every day.




4. Florence

The city of Florence lies to the north, about three hours by car. It's known for its architecture, its culture, its art and its monuments. Forbes calls it one of the ten most beautiful cities in the world. Like Rome, there's a lot to photograph, so it's probably going to amount to a really long day trip for me. Then again, I do day trips to Savannah from St. Augustine, and it's roughly the same distance.



5. Terni

Where?

Yup, Terni.

Only about 65 miles from Rome, Terni is a strong industrial hub in Italy and has the nickname "The Steel City". It's also known as "the city of lovers", as Saint Valentine was born and became a bishop there, and his remains are preserved in the Basilica san Valentino located not far from the center of town.

For me, though, the bigger draw lies about five miles outside the city. Created by the ancient Romans, the Cascata delle Marmore (Marmore Falls) are the highest man-made falls in the world. Because it's man-made, the flow of water can be, and is, controlled. The falls normally flow between noon and 1:00pm and again from 4-5pm daily.



The trips outside of Rome are going to make for some long days, even the relatively close destination of Terni because of the side trip to the falls. The undeniable reality is that there's simply just too much in Italy to try to see in the time I'll be there. In all honesty, I don't know if two full weeks would afford me enough time. I would love to get to Milan and Venice but, unfortunately, those just don't seem to be in the cards.

So, the best I can do is the best I can do, and I'm going to make sure that my days in Italy are packed from the time I wake up every morning until the time I pull the blanket over me at night.

The way I see it, that'll make for a good trip...


Monday, January 28, 2019

Things To Do, Places To Go...

With eight full days in Italy, I have both plenty of time and not nearly enough time.

Certainly, if I were going to limit myself to seeing the sites in Rome, eight days would probably be plenty of time. But I just can't go to Italy and stay in one city. There's a lot there to see, so I want to try to see as much as I can.

While in Rome, I plan on playing the "tourist" role to the nth degree. Rome is home to some of the most impressive sites on the planet, from art museums to fountains to sculptures. There is a veritable treasure trove of photo ops, and I plan on doing one of those hop on/hop off buses to get to many of them during my first two days in Italy. 

So, what's on my "Top 10"?


1. Trevi Fountain

Found on the eastern side of the Tiber River, this fountain was completed in 1762 by Giuseppe Pannini. It's the largest Baroque fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. The trick here, as with many other sites in Rome, will be to beat the throngs of people clamoring to see it. I'm not averse to heading over to it in the middle of the night, though, if it means getting more dramatic photos which include fewer people.




 2. The Colosseum

I can't imagine visiting Rome and not visiting the Colosseum. It's also difficult to imagine a more iconic landmark to represent a city; maybe the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building. You just can't look at the Colosseum and not know what city it's in. Completed in the year 80 AD, it's the largest amphitheater ever built.




3. Vatican City

Vatican City is actually a sovereign city state which is completely surrounded by the Italian capitol city of Rome. Despite being the smallest country in the world both by area (approximately 109 acres) and population (about 1,000), it's the most important country in the world for some 1.3 billion Roman Catholics. The Vatican Museums are here, as is the Sistine Chapel (where, unfortunately, photography is forbidden). But even having the chance to photograph St. Peter's Square will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Most surprising is that, even though this has been the site of the Holy See for centuries, the Vatican has only existed as a city/state since 1929.




 4. The Forum (Forum Romanum)  

The Forum has stood, in one state of construction or another, since the fifth century BC. It has served witness to elections, trials, parades and gladiator matches. Excavation of the Forum was officially  begun in 1898 by the Italian government and continues to this day.




5. The Pantheon 

The Pantheon was completed by the Emporer Hadrian, although the exact year is unknown. It's suspected that it was dedicated around the year 126 AD. It's one of the most well preserved of all ancient Roman structures, probably due to the fact that this immense building, where the artist Raphael is buried, has been in continuous use since it was built. It's been called the only architecturally perfect building in the world. Visiting the Pantheon used to be free, but Italy's culture ministry has announced they will institute a €2 ($2.29 US) admission fee in May of last year. 




6. Piazza Navona
One of Rome's best known public squares, Piazza Novona  dates back to the 1400's. Nowadays, it's home to artists, street performers and cafes filled with espresso sippers. There are also a number of impressive monuments, including one by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Fountain of the Four Rivers) and another by Francesco Borromini (Sant'Agnese in Agone). 



7. Trastevere
This neighborhood, located south of Vatican City, is often compared to the Left Bank in Paris or New York City's Greenwich Village. Many travelers comment on how "authentic" an Italian feel this  neighborhood has compared to the bustling tourist lines in other areas of the city. 



8. Santa Maria della Vittoria

My main reason for wanting to visit this church is the fact that it was featured in the Tom Hanks movie "Angels & Demons". While it's a visually stunning example of religious architecture, it also happens to be quite small and it can get very crowded with would-be Robert Langdons. Hopefully,  the fact that I'll be there prior to the peak tourist season (which is summer) will help.



9.Gianicolo Hill (Passeggiata del Gianicolo)
Also known as The Janiculum, this hill lies outside the boundaries of the ancient city. The hill provides unobstructed, panoramic views of the Eternal City. Once at the top you can see buildings such as St. Peter's Basilica and the Altare della Patria.


10. Church of San Luigi dei Francesi 

The exterior of this church, which was completed in 1589, can fool you. It's appearance on the outside belies its dimensions on the inside, and to say it's grandiose would be an understatement. This church is located in Piazza Navona.




11. Santa Maria Della Pace

In 1482, the church was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV, and it was dedicated to the Virgin Mary to remember a miraculous bleeding of a Madonna image there in 1480. Photographically, it's stunning. I've reviewed literally hundreds of photos of this church and there's no way it can't be on my "must see" list. The nice part is that it's not far from the Piazza Novona.




So, it's easy to see that my first few days in Rome are going to be pretty full. There's a lot to do, a lot to see and a lot to photograph.

I think these eleven sites are going to take two very full days, and I'm looking forward to them.


***Obviously, the photos included here were not taken by me, and I want to be sure that's understood. 
Many thanks to the talented photographers for the amazing photographs I've included here.***
________________________________________________________________________________


Now, as an aside...

Many people have expressed surprise that I'm doing this trip by myself. They're somewhat surprised that I wouldn't want to share this experience with someone else.

Well, truth be told, I would. But that would have to be a very specific person.

First, it would have to be someone with a valid passport. I have to say, I've been pretty surprised by the number of people I know, who I'd consider traveling with, who don't have one. They're easy to get, aren't that expensive, and they literally open the world to you.

Second, it would have to be someone who could pick up and leave for almost two weeks. Unfortunately, not too many people are in a position to do that. I'm fortunate in that I literally write my own schedule. I can come and go as I please and stay as long as I want. Not a lot of people are able to do that.

Third, and this is probably the biggest factor, it would have to be someone who thoroughly enjoys photography. I'm not doing this solely as a vacation. My whole focus during this trip is going to be photography. It'll include both early mornings and late nights. It'll include road trips, high-speed trains and overnight stays. It's going to be a trip full of total planning and flying by the seat of my pants. In short, I'll be expecting the unexpected and charging at it full speed.

So, if you think you can keep up, let me know. This isn't the last trip I'll take...

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Italy - Prep Work...

Well, after talking about an Italy trip since we went to Ireland in August, I finally pulled the trigger. 

In April, I'm going to spend eight full days in Italy. It'll be just me, my Canon 6D MKII and a Citroen C4. I'll be based in Rome, but side trips are definitely going to be on the agenda. I plan on visiting the Amalfi Coast (which looks amazing) and Florence, and I'd also like to do a trip across the country to the Adriatic Sea, just to say I did it. 

Unlike those maniacs in Ireland, Italians drive on the proper side of the road. Even still, I'm told that traffic in and around Rome can escalate to insane levels, so I rented something small with an automatic transmission. The Citroen C4 will never be accused of being the sportiest ride on the road, but it ain't bad:


It's got a 16 gallon tank and gets roughly 37 miles to the gallon, so a tank of gas is going to get me well over 500 miles. The Amalfi Coast is only 170 miles from Rome, so a tank of gas makes that trip easily. Pescara, which is on the Adriatic Sea, is only 130 miles away; yet another easy trip. Aside from those side trips, I'm going to be staying only a few miles from the Vatican, so when I want to get into the city center I can either take a shuttle from the hotel (for only €3) or drive and deal with parking. It'll be nice to have the car, though, when I want to do some night shooting and the shuttle's not running.

Everyone's been asking where I'm going to be staying. Did I pick some bed & breakfast along the coast of the Mediterranean? A quaint little inn downtown where English is a seventh language? No, it would be neither. See, one thing I've learned after years of traveling is that things can often go sideways and, when they do, those smaller, quaint inns aren't always prepared to deal with problems. So, I'll be staying at Holiday Inn Rome - Eur Parco Dei Medici. Now, I don't know what all of that means, but I do know that it means I'll be staying at a four star property with all of the amenities one would expect from a worldwide brand. 

And, hey, the rooms look pretty nice:




One of the things that's bound to be a challenge is the language barrier. Of course, I suspect that the hotel staff will speak English, as will those working at most of the tourist attractions in and around Rome. But what about when I'm somewhere between Rome and Bergamo, and I have a question about something? The further away you get from the metropolitan areas the less likely English will be widely spoken.

Enter this little guy:


The Multi-Language Portable Smart Voice Translator (couldn't they have come up with a shorter name for it?) lets you translate on the fly. You speak into it and it instantly translates what you say into one of 30 different languages. It boasts an insane accuracy rate and translates whatever you say in as little as .2 seconds. And, what's nice is that whoever you're talking to can speak into it and it will instantly translate that speech into English. The unit was $100, which is more than I think I would normally spend on an impulse buy, but it could prove to be a bargain if it works the way they say it does.
 
And, since this is going to be a full-blown photo trip, I would be remiss if I didn't mention my two favorite apps. 

First (and thankfully), my favorite GPS app, Waze, works in Italy. It's the most accurate GPS app I've found, and it even works better than my dedicated Garmin GPS unit (which hasn't seen the light of day in over a year). It will be indispensable on those day or overnight trips outside of Rome.

Second, RGPS (Really Good Photo Spots) will come in awfully handy when I'm wondering where to go to shoot. Sure, when I'm in Rome there's plenty to photograph and it's all pretty easy to find. But I could be in Florence and not know that there's a great scenic view only a mile down the road and around a bend. RGPS clues me into those things.

So, the games begin. Over the next couple of months I'll be dialing in the things to do and the tours to take. The "hop on/hop off" bus that we did for two days in Dublin was fantastic, and they have something similar in Rome. I can't imagine not doing that, as it really is the best way to move around a city and see the main sites. 

From a photographer's perspective, there's so much to see and photograph in Rome, and the rest of the country, that I'm already wondering if I should've done a longer trip!










Italian Apps...

I can remember, and this wasn't too long ago, when the best thing we had going for us when traveling was being able to print out drivin...