Italy : A Photo Guide of Milan, Rome, Florence, & Venice (but mostly Rome)
I started to put together my guide from our trip to Italy and realized something…I’m not good at food recommendations and there are lots of incredible posts on the internet that tell you amazing places to go (some of my favorites here, here, and here) but there isn’t a post I could find that told you about the photos. What time were they taken to get that light, how you avoid crowds, all that stuff, you know? Here are my tips, tricks, and times from my visit taking portraits in Italy. All times will be explained in relation to sunset so no matter what time of year you’re there, this guide can help!
The first city we got to explore was Milan! We didn’t do a ton of sight seeing here but we did manage to hit the Duomo.
Duomo di Milano
We arrived 30 minutes after sunrise and the light changed quickly! There was about fifteen minutes with the prettiest soft backlight and I was loving it.
The entire square was practically empty and we were able to shoot without other people around.
This could also be a cool spot for direct light shots in the afternoon but you will fight crowds.
We spent four entire days in Rome and were able to hit lots of really cool spots. I think this was my favorite of the places we went while in Italy because of all the things to see and do!
Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II
This was the first place we stopped for pictures! It was about an hour before sunset (literally the most beautiful sunset of my life) and it was only a short walk from our Airbnb.
There were a lot of people around but we just used angles to our advantage and didn’t show much of the bridge itself.
There are all kinds of incredible bridges along the water so we just looked for the one that looked the emptiest to shoot with.
We shot all of these images with a 35mm lens!
Fontana dell'Acqua Paola
Matt’s brother guided us to this location! We were the only ones here at 2pm and I still don’t understand it. Highly recommend taking the time to go see, it’s breathtaking and there are gorgeous views across the street too.
It was an overcast day and we shot these all with the Canon 16-35mm!
Gelateria del Teatro
Okay, okay. I said no food recommendations but this is a gelato and photo recommendation. We went to this gelato shop six times in four days. It was that good. You have to go.
This cutie wall is visible from the shop. We were able to grab our afternoon treat and take some photos all in one go. There are a lot of cute spots in this area as well that are perfect for shooting mid-day.
I shot all of these images with my Canon 16-35mm but a 35mm would capture this area beautifully too!
Another morning adventure! We arrived at the Trevi Fountain about an hour after sunrise. There were only a handful of people there so it was easy to snag a spot right on the fountain to take photos.
The space is pretty tight so you’ll want to shoot with a wide lens in order to get the overall effect. I shot with both my 16-35mm and my 35mm!
The light might be better here in the afternoon but I’d take your chances with the morning if you want to take your time and be able to get close to the fountain without lots of company.
This was the most surprising location for me in Rome. There are loads of spots to get a shot similar to this one. It was incredibly busy because we went right around lunch time but we were able to find a spot quite easily.
I think you’ll be fine going to get photos with the Colosseum almost anytime during the day.
I shot all of these images with my Canon 35mm 1.4 and loved the look. There is also a wall made with a natural rock down the road that gives a more bohemian vibe. Definitely take a look around to find the perfect spot for the image you want to capture!
For some reason this was the photo I was most fixated on getting during this trip. I just wanted a photo with a pizza and I was determined to make it happen.
How to get your perfect pasta or pizza pic? Eat outside during the day and get yourself something yummy to eat. There are cutie porches to eat outside everywhere you turn so I have no doubt you’ll be able to find the perfect spot.
This was shot with my Canon 35mm 1.4!
Altare della Patria
We stumbled upon shooting here one morning when we were just exploring. Every time we had walked by it was packed with people but our routine had us going by right as they opened at 9am so we hopped in and got a few photos before walking through the museum.
Highly recommend you go in the morning if you want to avoid having other people in your images.
This was shot with my Canon 16-35mm!
We spent less than twenty-four hours in Florence and I took almost no photos because we were busy seeing everything we could possibly see. The one photo I did take I’ve gotten lots of questions about so I’m going to share it and tell you all about when and where! I look forward to a trip back to Florence someday so I can experience all the amazing recommendations you all sent!!
Between Ponte Vecchio and Ponte Alle Grazie
These are the only images I took in Florence. I wanted to make sure we had a photo of us there for mems and all that but we definitely need to make a trip back so we can truly experience Florence. This photo was taken on my iPhone about thirty minutes before sunset.
My second favorite behind Rome. Venice is outstandingly gorgeous. All of the canals are so unique and I enjoyed just walking around and seeing the craftsmanship that was used to create such detail throughout the city. I want to go back and go on a gondola ride when it’s not below freezing outside. I also want to go back and spend more than thirty-six hours. We definitely made a few of our stops too short so we could see more (but we experienced less)!
All The Canals
Anywhere you go in Venice you’ll find beautiful Canals to photograph. This was taken just after lunch!
My best advice is wander around until you find a place with a little less traffic.
This was shot with my Canon 16-35mm!
All The Pretty Buildings
I primarily shot images in Venice in front of all the beautifully colored buildings. We went a saw lots of the sights but I didn’t shoot any photos during that time. Sorry that I’m not helpful in the regard!
My best recommendations for Venice are to wander and see what speaks to you. The photos with my suitcases wasn’t planned, it was taken on our last day on our way to the train station! The pink building behind me made my really happy so I asked Matt to stop and snag a photo of me.
The best way to capture your travels is to photograph the things that speak to you!
This trip was one of our best yet! I love getting to explore new places and experience all the things other cultures have to offer. I hope that this guide gets you inspired to travel and capture how you see different corners of the world.
Thanks for reading!