Eid week is over, and so is my long silence in terms of the hobby. I had a much needed change of space this past week when I traveled to Italy, specifically to Rome, Florence and Venice. It was a great trip filled with culture (you don’t get to eat a Florentine steak next to a baritone singing Nessun Dorma anywhere else in the world I reckon), art, scenery and some good old fashioned trekking. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve walked this much in any trip thus far, ever. Find out some of my favorite shots after the break (obviously image heavy post)!
I did mean to post this up in the beginning of the week but when I looked at the camera I saw 2200 photos to process (not kidding) and had to put off till later. As mentioned, within 7 full days I had the chance to visit the birthplace of ancient Rome, the home of Ezio Auditore (da Firenze, duh!) and the largest canal city I’ve witnessed thus far with my wife. Among them Florence was a really exciting place full of sculptures, gorgeous paintings and history. We also got to see Hannibal Lecter’s favorite places to hang around (pun intended)!
Of course, my wife and I didn’t want to settle with simple phone or point-and-shoot cameras and got ourselves an entry level professional camera, with a proper lens from a local provider. We opted for the Canon 650D model after asking around, and were very pleased with the resulting photos, even on automatic mode!
Comes with a basic 18-55 lens, more than enough for an amateur like me.
Cost us around $750 but given that it’s a perfect tool for miniature photography as well I consider this quite a bargain. For those interested comrades, Hepsiburada.com should still have some kind of discount sale going on for the photography category, so drop by if you need some nice equipment (and of course, if you’re located in Turkey, duh!).
But enough of this, let’s start with the highlights in Rome:
Our trip began in the Vatican. We got to see the St. Peter Basilica and the places where the Pope operates.
An impressive dome tops the basilica.
Gotta love cherubs, cyernetic or otherwise.
A selfie is a must in such crowded places.
Fast forward to the People’s Square.
Witness the largest dome built in the BC era.
Here I got a chance to test night mode in the camera. Suffice to say it didn’t disappoint!
Bernini was one creative artist. Rome is filled with his work.
This place is very impressive at night.
Thus ends the first day of the trip. It took us about 20 hours, no kidding.
Fast forward to Pompeii. We stand on the grounds of a gladiator school, or “ludus” if you will. Hail to Crixus and Spartacus!
Every city needs culture, and Pompeii had plenty.
Trade forum, my kind of place.
Now this is the picture of despair.
Gotta have some fun, right?
Fast forward to Napoli. This is the first mall in the world, but stands unfinished. Here I am with my zodiac sign.
Seems almost like erupting, no?
Italians perform art in every form it seems.
A badass castle.
Day 3 of our journey. Fast forward to Lake Albano, where the Pope has a summer palace. I can see why.
A quick travel to Nemi and its crater lake.
Well you might ask what the hell I’m doing in a mall in Italy, escaping a T-rex, but Iwouldn’t be able to answer either.
We visited the Pantheon again to take a peek at the impressive dome.
During our walk to the Colosseo we saw this tiny thing.
By day it is much more interesting.
This is what’s left of ancient Rome. Still preserved.
An interesting thematic restaurant where the waiters are dressed as slaves, the patrons as senators and the opera artists as emperors. I got in the mood pretty fast.
Well you gotta try out the helmet when you get the chance!
That took us 3 days. Here’s what I enjoyed in Florence:
We begin at Ponte Vecchio, at the entrance to the Uffizi.
The Medici had their own tunnel to move from home to office. Sure beats traffic.
Here’s the famous David, contemplating how to defeat Goliath. A replica, obviously.
Well folks, you do realize that all these statues are great reference pictures for bronze and marble effects, right? Now get to painting!
This is where Hannibal Lecter hung up inspector Pazzi…
And this is where he enjoyed his wine.
These guys apply their homework on the pavement, knowing it will be washed away by morning.
Well, here we go. The Duomo itself.
Now that is impressive.
The great story of the end times depicted in this dome.
414 steps total. How hard could it be? I mean Ezio climbs much harder places…
Well, this is where I gave up first.
We made it, but only barely. Legs shaking.
By the time we went through the climb the guy finished his work. Impressive, to say the least.
A few final shots before we leave for the hotel…
An homage to the great Galileo.
… and salve to Macchiavelli as well.
The view is just stunning.
Fast forward to our second day in Tuscany. Here we are in Siena, famous for its Palios, or horse races.
I don’t like the rain.
The classic image of the founders of Rome. Aeneas would have been proud.
One of the few exciting places in Siena.
Apparently they have literate warthogs.
Fast forward to San Gimignano. Arguably the most interesting location in Tuscany.
All who enter, beware…
Town square. This place is a world heritage location deemed by UNESCO.
Possibly an ancestor to the Grey Knights. Rightfully, he’s shaken by a true agent of Chaos.
What a view.
Well, there are a few parlors that claim they have the best ice cream IN THE WORLD. So we picked the more humble one.
The ominous towers of the medieval city. Hard to believe that it has been so well preserved.
Fast forward to Pisa. Here we have the cathedral and the tower.
That doesn’t look right.
One last shot before I got to work…
Hmm, doesn’t work.
Yes, let gravity work the rest out!
That’s 2 days. And a little bit of Venice. I have to say, aside from the canals and the Piazza di San Marco, I didn’t get the vibe of the place. Oh well:
After disembarking from our ship we walked over a few bridges towards the San Marco square.
This should be familiar to Assassin’s Creed players! The Doge Palace is an impressive piece of work.
The sigil of San Marco, a winged lion.
His image shows the superiority of law over the rulers, even the Doge himself.
Sadly is was under restoration. I swear, half the monuments were being restored. I’m starting to think they’re trying to get tourists a second time to see the rest!
Noble offices. Apparently Napoleon didn’t like the way they looked…
… and rebuilt a whole wing.
Those are lapis lazuli from Africa. Such craftsmanship…
This place was so crowded! Took us ages to get a nice person to shoot us in front.
The canals are quite lovely.
We met some traffic on our ride!
But after a few minutes we had smooth sailing.
Gotta love Murano glass. And arachnids!
Some much needed rest at the end of the day.
Getting back to the hotel on the “interesting” craft.
More like Pink Horror!
Fast forward to the last day, lake Garda and Verona visits. We’re at Sirmione.
An impressive fort for such a small hamlet.
The heat was killing us, so we got ourselves some smiley gelato.
The locals seem friendly…
… well, maybe TOO friendly!
Feeding the local wildlife.
Fast forward to Verona. This is Piazza Brà.
Victor Emmanuel says hi, again.
Now a major cultural meeting point, this place used to be a place of much bloodshed.
Here we are at the merchant square.
Here we have Dante. He doesn’t smile, ever, does he?
A hero of sorts, who united Italy and helped the needy. Also, a great reference pic for aged bronze and verdigris effect!
A very popular spot for romantics.
That’s not a sunspot on her arm and breast. Millions hug her and touch her so acid in their palms corroded the statue. Can’t imagine how dirty that must be.
The city of love!
And as a goodbye, here’s the Palace of Justice in Verona. Looks cool.
And now you know why there was no progress on the models! Work was a bit of a detriment to the hobby for the rest of the week but I should get some quality work done on my WIP projects and get things rolling again from here on. Who knows, I might even be able to finish the Knight and move on to the Chaos units I long for. Now that will be loads of fun!