Italy in Pictures: 15 Beautiful Places to Photograph
From the mountains and hilltop towns to the cities and ancient ruins, Italy is a country brimming with picture possibilities. Add to this the sights along the Mediterranean Coast, the pastoral landscape of Tuscany, and iconic structures like the Colosseum or Leaning Tower of Pisa, and it's easy to see why photographers can't get their fill of this country. Stir your imagination with our list of the most beautiful places to photograph in Italy.
Venice's colorful old buildings sinking into the water, twisting canals, and ornate bridges just beg to be photographed. Getting the right shot can be challenging with the sheer number of tourists in the city during the day. Consider staying overnight to capture the early morning light without people in your pictures. This will also give you a chance to explore Venice more fully.
Photographing the archeological site of Pompeii takes a bit of planning. The site is large, has almost no shade, and can be hot. Try to arrive first thing in the morning and plan your route. Interesting things to photograph include the ancient frescoes, streets with chariot tracks grooved into the stone, and human remains.
The main gateway city for visiting Pompeii is Naples, another city with many worthwhile attractions.
3. The Colosseum in Rome
This iconic structure is one of the top sights in Rome. For an excellent picture of the Colosseum, search out Parco Del Colle Oppio. From the fountain near the entrance, the soft colors of the Colosseum pop in the late day sun. Capture countless images by just strolling around this massive structure or take a tour inside for more photography opportunities.
4. Lake Como
Lake Como is a spectacular lake high in the Italian Alps. Photograph the deep blue lake against the backdrop of the mountain scenery. One of the best ways to capture the beauty of Lake Como is from one of the ferries plying regular routes on the lake. Options include motorships, fast ferries, and regular ferries.
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- Visiting Lake Como and Como Town
5. Amalfi Coast
The towns along the Amalfi Coast cling precariously to the steep mountainsides. Pull out areas along the scenic and twisty road connecting the towns offer opportunities to stop and photograph this beautiful region. For pictures of the towns themselves, you'll need to get out on the sea and shoot towards land. Take one of the inexpensive ferries that go from town to town or, if you have a large group, charter a boat.
Popular towns along the Amalfi Coast are Positano, Amalfi, Ravello, Maiori, and Minori. Positano is arguably the most photogenic town along the coast. Ravello, home to some fantastic gardens, is set up high and offers beautiful views over the sea.
The rolling hills of Tuscany are synonymous with fine food and wonderful scenery. Small towns, some perched on hilltops, dot the countryside. Each town or city will have something that will tempt you to take out your camera and snap a picture. The larger cites of Tuscany are Florence, Pisa, and Sienna. The town of San Gimignano is particularly photo-worthy.
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- Best Places to Visit in Tuscany
Florence is all about architecture and history. Beautiful buildings line narrow streets and large public squares. Some of the most important sights in Florence include the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Piazza Duomo, the Baptistry of Saint John, the Uffizi Palace and Gallery, and the Palazzo Vecchio. For an amazing picture of Florence, climb the 414 steps to the top of the bell tower of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.
8. The Leaning Tower of Pisa
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, also known as La Torre Pendente, dates from 1100. Incredibly, the tower can actually be climbed. From the top are amazing views of the city and surrounding countryside. To best capture the lean, try to frame the tower with the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta to the left in the image.
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- Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Pisa
9. Cinque Terre
Cinque Terre is a collection of five towns on the Ligurian Sea not far from La Spezia. These beautiful towns can be reached via a railroad or a narrow road. For the best pictures consider hiking between the towns. You can take the train to Monterosso al Mare and walk back to Riomaggiore (or as far as you want to go). A combination hiking trail and railroad travel pass is available.
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- Visiting the 5 Towns of Cinque Terre
10. The Roman Forum
If you are exploring Rome, you will undoubtably come across the Roman Forum. This vast area is full of fantastic structures to photograph. Several of the best sites are the Temple of Antonio Pius dating from AD 141, the Arch of Septimius Severus from AD 203, and the expansive House of the Vestals.
11. Milan Cathedral (Il Duomo)
The Milan Cathedral is one of the top tourist attractions in Milan and a fascinating building to photograph. Not only does it have the world's largest stained-glass windows, it is also considered by many to be the best example of Gothic architecture in the world. Look to the 2,245 statues on the façade for unique ideas.
12. Island of Capri
The stunning island of Capri is located just offshore from Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast. Photographic opportunities are plentiful. Views over the coast from the high points create some of the most striking pictures. For this, take the single seat Monte Solaro chairlift to the top viewing area.
When planning your trip, be sure to take a boat tour that includes a stop at the famous Blue Grotto. This incredible sea cave is at the base of steep cliffs that rise vertically from ocean level.
13. Dolomite Mountains
Located in northeastern Italy, the Dolomites provide truly spectacular scenery. In the summer, take one of the many high-altitude hikes through the jagged peaks. Come winter, the numerous ski resorts are blanketed with snow, and the alpine villages come alive with skiers from around the world. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
14. Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna
Dating from AD 526, the interior of this small religious building is a riot of color. The walls are covered with an incredible display of Byzantine mosaic art and the floor is an intricate pattern, perfect for creating interesting images. The early Christian monuments in Ravenna, including this basilica, comprise a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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- Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Ravenna
Taormina, on Sicily, has several attractions and sights worth photographing. The Teatro Greco (Greek Theatre) is one of the best places for pictures. Capture the ruins against the backdrop of the ocean and Mount Etna.